Credit card thieves finding clever ways to get your money
Reporter: Tammy Vo
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Investigators in Tucson and across the country are trying to crack down on thieves who are trying to wiggle their way into your bank account, and they're doing so without even touching your wallet.
Recently, hundreds of card users in the Tucson area opened their bank statements and discovered that their card numbers had been stolen. Police traced it back to several gas stations in the Tucson area, including Oro Valley, and discovered that thieves were able to unlock gas pumps and implant skimming devices which would read card numbers. One man was arrested, but police believe that he's just a small part of a larger network of clever thieves who are making off with credit card numbers and selling them on the black market.
"I used to be surprised but I think they become more clever all the time and more sophisticated in the way they can exact information, not just through skimming but all kinds of ways that these numbers can be received over the internet" said Sgt. Gary Downward with the Tucson Police fraud division. "It's kind of an epidemic at this point. There's a lot of fraud and check fraud... There are cases every day of this going on."
9 On Your Side spoke with customers who used their credit cards at an east Tucson gas station where police say that thieves installed their secret skimmers.
"I think I prefer the old days where you go in and pay by check or cash" said Lillian Rachall.
Wesly Wilson said, "These people that lose money, especially the elderly that work their butts off all their lives, they get treated like garbage and all of the sudden they find out they have no money".
This scheme sounds pretty sophisticated, but Paige Hanson of Lifelock says that it's pretty easy. Lifelock is a company out of Phoenix that helps protect consumer identity.
"Right now thousands of credit cards are being traded on the black market. Think of how many stores you've been to and you don't actually have to show your credit card" said Hanson. She showed KGUN 9 the a skimming device that the thieves may be using. We found them online for less than it would cost to fill a gas tank. Hanson says that skimmers are often installed in gas station pumps, ATM's and used in the restaurant scene.
What can you do? Experts say to pay close attention to bank statements. Instead of paying at the pump, go inside the gas station to pay or go inside the bank instead of using the ATM. police suggest using cash instead of credit cards.