Police issue card scam warning

Police issue  card scam warningBy BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

After several reports of victims having their credit card information compromised after stopping for gas at Coso Junction, the Ridgecrest Police Department issued a release warning of credit card “skimmers” being used in the area.

Skimmers are unauthorized card readers that have replaced or been placed over card readers, often at gas stations, to remotely access victims’ credit card information.

According to a release from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, pumps at the Coso Junction Chevron were outfitted with such skimmers that have since been removed. Some residents have also reported compromised card information after using local gas stations.

A press release from RPD advises residents to be vigilant when filling up at the pump and keeping an eye open for out-of-the-ordinary circumstances.

“Look before you insert your card,” said the release. “Does anything look different than what you’re used to seeing? The keyboard might look different or the keys could look bigger.”

The release also says to watch for broken serial-numbered security tape around the fuel pump or other signs of the dispenser being forced open. Loose card readers can also be signs of a skimmer placed over an existing card reader.

“Use common sense,” said the release. “Use fuel pumps in safe places. Avoid gas pumps that are out of sight of the clerk. Always cover the keyboard when you type. If using a debit card at the pump, chose to run it as a credit card instead of entering a PIN. There might be a new cardboard box containing literature next to the ATM, which crooks set up to conceal a pinhole camera. They use the camera to record you as you type in your PIN.

“If you have any questions or become a victim of fraud or theft, please contact the Ridgecrest Police Department.”

Story First Published: 2019-03-01