Cons are using credit and debit card skimmers more frequently to steal your account information when you buy gas, settle your restaurant tab or pick up cigarettes.
Skimming has reportedly been around since the 1980s, but cases are turning up more and more in our state and elsewhere. The debit accounts of at least 80 people were compromised in a skimming scheme at a Puyallup service station. And the former owner of a Redmond smoke shop admitted stealing from the accounts of at least 300 victims.
Skimming devices are the size of an electronic pager and meant to be legitimately used in cash registers and debit and credit card scanners to read the magnetic strips on your card. But as this photo from a surveillance cam at a Florida ATM shows, cons covertly place them over the real thing. They then use your information to empty your account or create counterfeit cards with your name and account info.
Experts told MSNBC that your best protection is to use a credit card, instead of a debit card, to pay for gas.
This video from the folks at insideidtheft.info shows how the card skimming scam works: