City of Myrtle Beach warns against scammers as technology develops

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – Myrtle Beach City officials are warning people to be careful about their credit cards, especially during the busy holiday season.

In a Facebook post, officials discussed how and what scammers use to swipe credit card information from ATMs, gas pumps, and even self-checkout machines in stores. Often, this is done through skimmers.

“Thieves attach them to ATMs, gas pumps and other point-of-sale systems where people swipe their credit and debit cards. Once in place, the skimmer steals the magnetic strip information from your card,” says the Facebook post.

Once they have your information, thieves are able to drain your bank account or destroy your credit without you even knowing. Because of this, a lot of stores and credit companies have switched to the chip cards.

According to the Facebook post, there is a new type of card skimmer. The “shimmer” is easy to install and thin enough that you wont be able to tell it is inside the card reader.

These devices are suspected to not be limited in location.

Credit Card Skimmer and “shimmer”. (Source: Myrtle beach City Government Facebook)



“Because these new devices are so small, they won’t be limited to gas stations and ATMs. Expect to see them popping up at grocery stores and retail locations, especially ones that offer self-checkout,” says the Facebook post.

Myrtle Beach City Government also posted some ideas on how to prevent skimmers from gaining access to your information:

• Shield your PIN — The easiest step you can take to avoid having your PIN stolen is to block your hand while typing in the PIN with your other hand. Always assume someone is watching you enter your PIN.

• Check for tampering — Before putting your card into a reader, check it for tampering. Look for anything different or misaligned. If it looks suspicious, do NOT use the machine.

• Wiggle everything — ATMs don’t have loose parts. If anything jiggles, don’t use it.

• Avoid stand-alone ATMs — Try to use ATMs at a bank, preferably inside the lobby area.

• Frequently check bank statements — Criminals are becoming more sophisticated. Stay on top of your bank statements and report any suspicious activity ASAP.

• Report the theft — If you are the victim of a skimmer, report it immediately to your financial institution.