Last week I became a victim of credit card theft, most likely from a skimming device. My credit card information was used over a series of 4 days to rack up more than $3,000 in charges from various online retailers. Beginning early last week I started receiving a tidal wave of boxes at my front door. Apparently, some smaller retailers ONLY ship to the billing address and not the shipping address.
I’ve spent the last week calling back UPS and FED EX and making trips to the post office to return the merchandise. Another annoyance in my week. One representative stated that sometimes the crooks have the merchandise delivered to your home and they come by during the day to intercept it. That was too frightening a thought for me to contemplate so I prefer to think that the retailers chose to ship to the billing address only.
The states where the most credit card theft (from skimming) is taking place is: Florida, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. According to Consumer Reports, the jump in “skimming” crimes is due to organized criminals from Eastern Europe setting up operations in the US.
My advice to you is this:
NEVER use your atm or debit card at a gas station. If it is compromised that is your real money that is on the line!
Get a cas card for your gas purchases. If the number is skimmed it will be useless to the criminal as they will ONLY be able to use it a gas station and not for online purchases. For additional security, Exxon Mobile allows you to specify a particular gas station that your card will work. Other gas stations may have similar programs.
Investigate the device you are placing your card into. Does it look different from the others? Is it loose or crooked? Try to pull it and see if it comes off. If it does, it is a skimmer.
Check your credit card statement frequently. Look for small purchases that you may not recognize. This is a new scam where the criminals “test” your account and prefer to use it slowly over a long period of time before maxing it out and alerting your bank’s Fraud Prevention Department.