GRAHAM, N.C. -- Can you remember a day where you didn’t swipe your credit or debit card to buy something? Whether you’re at the pump, grabbing a snack or getting money out of the ATM, there’s a potential for your information getting stolen.
"The folks who are doing this activity, they've got it down to a science where they're concealing these things and making them look very legit,” Guilford County Sheriff’s Office Detective Adam Wiley said.
Wiley is talking about card scanning devices (commonly referred to as skimmers). The Graham Police Department found one that was placed at the CashPoints ATM on 921 S. Main St. Police say it was placed there around 6:30 p.m. Jan. 12, and encourage anyone who has since used that ATM to check their account and file a report.
Police are looking for this suspect and vehicle:
North Carolina's Agriculture Department and Consumer Services Standards Division Director Stephen Benjamin wants people to be aware that these devices are out there.
"My people are finding it at the gas pumps, because that is somewhere we have the authority to inspect that,” Benjamin said. While those inspections found only three more skimmers in 2017 than 2016, that does not count the hundreds of law enforcement agencies, like Graham police, or thousands of local businesses whose managers can discover these.
Both Wiley and Benjamin agree gas pumps seem to be easier targets for these criminals. Wiley says most skimmers are tailored for machines that require a card swipe, as opposed to inserting the chip.
"With where we are, the interstates and the highways, that kind of criss-cross and traverse Guilford County, it's a prime target,” Wiley said.
The detective says they’re not necessarily finding an increase in Guilford County, but it’s holding steady. Wiley pointed out that the skimmers are getting harder to identify and sometimes are deeply embedded in an ATM or pump.
"Anywhere where you're turning your card over to someone else to run it, I always say use a credit card, because at least with a credit card it insulates you from your actual funds being compromised,” Wiley said.
Wiley says stand alone ATMs can be another prime target, and recommends getting money out of one connected to a bank where there is more surveillance.
Benjamin noted that most gas pumps won’t have chip reading capabilities until 2020 and expects to find more in North Carolina in 2018.