Groups of criminals from out of town are hitting the metro in hopes of gaining access to your debit or credit card information. They’re using ATMs and gas pump machines to do so.
How they’re getting your information
On ATMs, they put "skimmers," or fake card readers, over the existing card readers and place a hidden pinhole camera to capture your pin.
Photo of ATM skimmer courtesy Olathe Police Dept.
"It's hard to catch these people. We've got surveillance video of a lot of suspects, but they are never from the area so no one knows them," said Detective Brian Peters with the Olathe Police Department. "They come into Kansas City. They are generally here from three to seven days placing devices, coming back after hours and pulling the devices."
Over the last two years, detectives with the Olathe Police Department have located skimmers all across the city, affecting hundreds of people.
Detectives have found them on ATMs as well as gas pump machines, which Peters said are harder to detect. Unlike ATMs, the skimmers are placed inside of a pump.
Photo of gas pump skimmer courtesy Olathe Police Dept.
"If they do it right and they attach the skimmer on the inside there is nothing for you to see. There is no way for you to be able to detect it until your card has been compromised," said Peters.
The best advice to protect your information from these illegal machines - use cash or pay with your credit card inside a gas station with a clerk. Also, cover the keypad with your hands in case there is a hidden camera watching you and check your bank statement for suspicious activity.
"I recommend a 24-hour gas station because there is always someone there. Again, don't be afraid to ask how often the pumps or ATMs are being checked," said Peters.
Ariel Rothfield can be reached at Ariel.Rothfield@KSHB.com.