Keeping Credit Cards Safe This Holiday Season - WBAY

Target 2: Consumer Alert

Target 2: Keep Credit Cards Safe This Holiday Season


As we approach the busiest shopping season of the year, here's news you need to know to keep your credit card safe.

Criminals have now learned how to charge your credit cards without them ever leaving your sight. It's a lesson many shoppers are learning the hard way.

Olivia Flowers is a victim. Thieves got her credit card information, opened new bank accounts, then went on a buying spree.

"It was very disturbing, because you feel invaded," Olivia Flowers says.

Thieves are using a "skimming" device to steal credit card information.

"The devices now are really small, they can be held in your hand, and it can be done quite easily," US Postal Inspector Paul Krenn says.

The skimmer looks like part of an ATM or gas pump card reader.

Postal inspectors warn that credit and debit card skimming is on the rise, especially at fast-food restaurants and gas stations.

And it's profitable. In a bust in Puerto Rico, postal inspectors seized weapons and big-ticket items.

"There were $90,000 worth of postal money orders which were purchased using the fraudulent debit cards," Krenn said.

Flowers went shopping for a new car. That's when she got her first hint someone skimmed her credit card. Thieves destroyed her credit.

"He told me that my credit score was really low, and he told me… he actually gave me the printout."

Credit card companies know that skimmers are targeting their customers, but it's not always easy to reclaim your good name.

"Because the credit agency is asking you to prove that you didn't actually do it," Flowers said.

We want to know about any problems that might put you, your family, or neighbors at risk. Contact us at:

Your story might be our next story.

Don't fall victim to credit card skimmers. Some tips:

  • Keep your credit card in sight; never let anyone who has it go anywhere out of your sight
  • Always check your receipts after every purchase you make
  • Look at every credit card and bank statement
  • If you notice unusual charges, notify your credit card company or issuing bank immediately

"Because it's my money, and I work hard for my money, and I would be all over it. A few cents, they add up," Flowers said.

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