"Don't let thieves spend your hard-earned money on their summer travels," the Murrieta Police Department wrote in a recent Facebook post, sharing photos and videos of common skimmers the department has recently uncovered.
The devices, police said, can be installed on anything from pin pads on store counters to ATMs, fuel pumps and more, and can look just like the genuine pin pads.
Also included in the post is a video showing how quickly criminals can install devices on pin pads, and how quickly they can get users' PIN. The video shows the installer sliding the camera into place just above a pin pad, angled to be able to see all the numbers. Any user from that point on can have their PIN leaked.
California has the unfortunate distinction as the state with the highest number of skimming instances. According to FICO, with nearly half of all card skimming crimes happening in the state in 2022.
Photo via Murrieta Police
To help prevent people from having their banking information compromised, the Murrieta Police offered five simple tips:
- Look at the pin pad - Before using your card at a payment station or ATM, look closely at the pin pad to make sure it doesn't look like it's been tampered with.
- Beware of non-bank ATMs - The department said that the majority of skimming happens at privately-owned ATMs.
- Block your PIN - Just like in the video the department shared, if anyone can see your PIN, it can be compromised.
- Check your accounts regularly - Being aware of the charges on your account are a great way to quickly fix the issue if your info is compromised.
- Trust your gut - If something feels off, use a different machine or use a different payment method.
Anyone who does encounter a card skimmer in Murrieta was asked to contact law enforcement at 951-304-2677.