Jul 30, 2010 12:29 AM by Andy Koen
A skinny bit wire and electrical tape, not much bigger than a stick of gum, is all that is needed to steal credit card information from gas pumps and retail stores.
Detective J.D. Bliss of the Colorado Springs Police Department's Financial Crimes Unit says his officers have been working with the US Secret Service in tracking a crime ring that is using the skimmers to steal from customers in Colorado Springs and Denver.
The stolen account numbers are usually cloned onto another credit card, letting thieves use their cards to spend money from the scammed accounts.
"They're able to manipulate that by capturing that data and then putting that data onto someone else's credit card."
The devices are stealthy. They still allow purchases to go through leaving store clerks and customers with no idea that the information is being ripped off.
"It's rather scary," Bliss said. "The other night I, myself went to fill up my car and I was just thinking there is no way I know if this pump has been tampered with or not."
In fact, many of the card numbers stolen here are being used in California. He says when similar incidents have happened in another stated, the skimming would usually last for about a month or so before the ring would move to another state.
Bliss says the best protection is vigilance. He urges everyone to check their credit card and bank statements online as often as every other day to spot unusual purchases.