(Columbus, OH) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warned today of scams that target consumer’s personal information known as “skimming” scams.
“It is important that consumers are aware of skimming scams in order to protect themselves and their families,” Attorney General Mike DeWine remarked. “Our office continues to encourage Ohioans to carefully monitor their financial accounts and report all unauthorized use.”
Skimming scams generally refer to the practice of stealing debit (or credit) card numbers and corresponding account information stored on the card’s magnetic strip. Skimming devices are often camouflaged to fit gas pumps and ATMs, and they may be equipped with hidden cameras. The cameras may also be used to take snapshots of debit card PIN numbers as consumers enter them. Once the scammers have acquired the account information, they then use it to make unauthorized purchases and withdrawals.
In some cases, consumers' credit or debit card numbers are stolen by restaurant servers or store clerks who take the consumer’s card and swipe it through a skimming device that the servers or clerks carry with them.
Attorney General DeWine offers the following tips:
- Closely watch your bank statements and track debits closely. Watch for any unauthorized withdrawals or suspicious activity. Also watch your credit card statements for signs of skimming.
- Use one ATM and one particular gas pump; it will be easier to track which machine has the skimmer if you are scammed. Try to use an ATM that is located in a very public place or is located inside a bank lobby. Scammers are less likely to tamper with machines in those locations.
- When using your bank card, choose the “credit card” option instead of “debit card.” It will be more difficult for scammers to make unauthorized purchases without your PIN.
If you believe you are the victim of a skimming scam, notify your local law enforcement and contact your bank immediately.
To report a scam to the Attorney General’s office visit www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/ReportaScam or call 1-800-282-0515.
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Lisa Hackley 614-466-3840
Eve Mueller 614-466-3840