News 12 at 6 o'clock / December 11, 2013
NORTH AUGUSTA, SC (WRDW)
"I use it for gas, groceries food. You name it I use it," says Brianna Dumas. Like most folks she uses her bank card everyday. But when she checked her account today she got a rude awakening.
"I always get on my bank account in the morning and I noticed some charges that obviously weren't mine," says Dumas. She called her bank and discovered she was targeted by some skimming scammers. "They went out to eat a couple of times at Benihana, they went to the dollar store, they got some cupcakes and then they spent $800 on video games," says Dumas.
She says the $800 video game purchase prompted her bank to red flag her account. She says the scammers wiped out her joint checking and savings accounts. "They added up to about $2,000.
The scammers may have used a portable skimming device to capture her banking information. With these devices thieves can simply swipe your card and then download the information onto a computer. Dumas says the bank told her it could have happened at a convenience store.
"People have been stealing credit card information off the gas pump," says Dumas. Which can be done with a Bluetooth skimming device that can transmit card information through a signal from the pump to as far away as 100 yards onto a cellphone. Experts say you can lower your risk of being targeted by:
*Using secure ATM's that have video surveillance
*Covering the ATM keypad when entering your pin number
*Making sure your credit card stays within your sight
Meanwhile Dumas says she is leery about the next time she has to swipe a bank card. "I don't have a lot of extra money to spend, so for someone to take so carelessly from me is pretty disheartening," says Dumas.
What is also disheartening is that these skimming devices are easily available online. So to protect yourself to some degree, you should monitor your checking account everyday for anything unusual.
If you spot a suspicious transaction, contact your bank immediately. Dumas says her bank will replace her money but the process is not quick.