Posted at: 10/15/2012 5:48 PM
By: Gordon Severson
Credit Card Fraud on the Rise
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Fraud comes in many forms, but in today's technology driven world, credit cards are by and large the most popular targets.
"We live in a credit card society right now. Debit or credit cards are used pretty much anytime," Olmsted County Sgt. Tom Claymon says.
Sometimes we don't even know it. It's called “skimming.”
When a credit card is scanned by an unauthorized source.
In Olmsted County it's happened twice in the last week .
"We had a report last week where a couple had been in Branson Missouri," Claymon says.
The couple came home to find multiple unauthorized charges.
Same thing happened to a Stewartville woman, who has never been to the “Lonestar State,” but recently found four charges from a business in Kingwood Texas.
"We have seen people with complete accounts wiped out," Darrel Hildebrant says.
Rochester Crime Prevention Specialist Darrel Hildebrant has seen this trend grow and evolve over the past few years.
"It can be done very easily and very quickly without anybody really knowing it," Hildebrant says.
For years the scam was to attach a secondary scanner to an ATM machine, or swipe the card on a second machine when the customer wasn't looking.
Now, thanks to new technology, credit cards that have a wave symbol on it can be skimmed simply by walking down the street.
They’re purpose is to make transactions as simple as waving it by a scanner.
However, crooks are taking advantage of that technology by using hidden scanners.
"When they get home from work they plug it into their computer and they can start ordering things online," Hildebrant says.
So far all the cases locally are happening when people are on vacation or in the Twin Cities.
But like most crimes, it's only a matter of time before they make their way down here.
"It's important that you treat a credit card or a debit card the same as you would using cash," says Sgt. Claymon.
If you have a newer credit card with that wave symbol on the back there are several ways to protect yourself.
You can wrap the card in aluminum foil, buy a special wallet, or you can punch a hole through the symbol itself.
This will disable the chip inside preventing it from being illegally scanned.