Be aware before you swipe your credit card

OKEECHOBEE — A credit card skimmer was located at one of the local convenience stores in Okeechobee again. Before you swipe your credit card, here are some tips to protect yourself from identity theft and credit card fraud.

• Look at the credit card slot. If it looks different from the other card readers at the station, it might be a setup for a credit card skimming fraud.

• Before sliding your card, tug on the reader to ensure it is securely attached; skimmers will easily pop off with little effort.

• Look for tamper-evident stickers. Look to see if the sticker has tried to be pried off or the door open or if the lock itself is broken.

• Block the view of pinhole cameras. They are so small and are sometimes used in conjunction with credit card skimmers to capture footage of customers entering their PIN number on debit cards.

• Use the pump closest to the cashier. Criminals are less likely to apply credit card skimmers so close to the attendant. Of course, even if you are close to the cashier still be wary of skimmers, tamper-evident stickers and pinhole cameras.

• When in doubt, Use Cash. If cash isn’t available, go inside the store and pay the cashier.

• Check your bank or credit card statements to make sure the charges are correct.

If you find your credit card or debit card has been skimmed, call your credit card company or bank immediately to let them know about the fraudulent charges and to protect yourself from further criminal activity.
Lastly, contact law enforcement.

Cathy Womble is a staff writer for the Lake Okeechobee News.

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