GEORGETOWN, SC (WBTW) – Georgetown County Sheriff Lane Cribb says multiple credit card skimmers have been found in neighboring counties over the last month and is warning local residents to be vigilant when they use their cards at places like gas stations and ATMs.
A skimmer is a false credit card portal attached to the front or on top of the legitimate scanner that records data from a cards’ magnetic strip when inserted during transactions, according to the press release from the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office. Some skimmers use a miniature camera to record you typing in your PIN number and others will go so far as to place a secondary keypad over the actual keypad to steal your financial information.
“Dozens of the devices have been found in Horry and Charleston counties during the past month, so it stands to reason we should expect to be seeing them soon,” said Hank Carrison, an investigator with the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office in a press release. “When fueling vehicles at Georgetown County gas stations, please take a moment to examine the credit card reader on your pump.”
When you pay at the pump with your debit/credit card, you generally have the option to use it as a credit or a debit card. Experts say it’s best to choose the ‘credit’ option that allows you to avoid entering your PIN. When you use it as a credit card you usually enter your billing ZIP code as verification which is much safer than putting in your PIN.
If you suspect that you might have had your card skimmed, monitor your account balance and report any suspicious activity immediately, the sheriff says.