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Skimmers becoming a felony in Oklahoma; how to spot them

Posted at 5:10 PM, Oct 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-31 18:10:07-04

TULSA, Okla. — Scammers work 24/7 to get our information, and look for the easiest paths to obtain it. Gas stations and ATMs have become hotbeds for skimmers - devices that scan our cards and hold the information.

On November 1, using or having a skimmer will become a felony in Oklahoma. But because it takes the law so long to catch up with technology that's improving every day, those who fight cyberfraud say it's up to us to keep ourselves safe.

Jeffrey Miller is the owner of Oklahoma CPC Insurance Agency. He says scams against us are happening "at a really rapid rate." But, he says, there are ways to catch skimmers that cover card readers.

"They're usually battery-powered, so they only last a few hours. So the people putting them on will put them on for a few hours, come back and move them, put a new battery in and go somewhere else," Miller said. "Reach out and pull where your card goes in. See if anything is loose. Because remember, these are temporary devices."

However, there are other devices that go inside card machines that get information from the reader itself. Gas stations like QuikTrip are constantly working to fight devices like those.

"If there's any unauthorized attempt to get into the gas dispenser, a silent alarm goes off which is monitored by QuikTrip, the pump shuts down, and nobody can use that pump until we send our own people to check and see what it is," said QuikTrip spokesperson Mike Thornbrugh. "You have to keep being vigilant. Crooks are pretty smart, and they come up with new techniques, and we just need to stay one step ahead as best you can."

If you see anyone you think might be tampering with a reader at a gas station or ATM, alert the store or bank right away.

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