ADA COUNTY -- Two credit card skimmers were found at a gas station in Boise. These devices are used to take your credit card information without you having to do more than unknowingly swipe your card.
Someone sitting in their car, watching from a distance can then get your credit card information via an electronic device.
"They place it over the top of that card reader and then every time you run your credit card through there, it gathers your information from your credit card," said Meridian Police Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea.
Basterrechea said skimmers are usually placed outside.
"It's normally going to happen someplace where there's not a lot of people; at a gas pump, at an ATM outside of a building. So really, to catch your odds, you're better to go inside the store," said Basterrechea.
Basterrecheat said it doesn't happen often in Meridian. He says it's been at least two or three years since they've seen a case in their jurisdiction.
"It's not a common occurrence, but it does happen, and so people need to be made aware of that. Usually when we deal with these credit card skimmers, it's usually a group from out of town, from out of state, and they're coming through the state and they're collecting this data and then they use it at a later date," he said.
Basterrechea says the key is keeping yourself from becoming a victim. However, he also said identifying the skimmers can be tough.
"You would be hard pressed to tell that it's different. It fits right into the regular card reader," Basterrechea said.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF:
- Look at the card reader before you use it, and compare it others around you.
- Give the card reader a little tug, to make sure it's actually part of the machine.
- Look for oddly placed mirrors or cameras that are pointing to the card reader or pin pad (rather than at you).
"Just be aware, I think is the main thing. Pay attention to what's going on around you," said Basterrechea.
He said these crooks like to up their odds, and they often put out multiple skimmers.
Just to be safe, police also suggest you can also pay for gas inside or use an ATM inside a building. In addition, keep a close eye on your accounts in case strange charges pop up.
Basterrechea said often times they catch the people who put out the skimmers because of a tip--someone sees a card skimmer and lets police know -- then police are able to find the person who set it up.