Westerville Police Highlight New ATM Card Skimming Technology

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Next time you pull out your card at a fast-food drive-thru, you might want to think twice about using your ATM card.

Lt. Paul Scowden of the Westerville Division of Police said that fast-food restaurant worker was recently arrested after being caught on surveillance video using a “skimmer,” a device that scans credit card information through an ATM or debit-card reader machine.

With one simple swipe, a card is read and its information is stored on an encoder that thieves then re-encode used gift cards with.
“They will recruit people,” Scodwen said. “’Hey, I’ll pay you $500, if you skim a bunch of cards for me.’ Well, those skimmers can hold 2,000 card numbers.”

Scowden said that skimmers are being used illegally at businesses all across central Ohio.

In the past two weeks, four people have been arrested in connection with skimming.

“We want it to stop, we want to catch the bad guys, and we’re going to employ any means we can to get those bad guys,” Scowden said.

According to Scowden, card readers are installed in all patrol cars so if an officer makes a traffic stop and suspects skimming, all the officer has to do is scan the cars and he would have probable cause for an arrest.

“We move through and the investigation starts,” Scowden said.

Detectives said that the best advice is to never let your credit card out of your sight.

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