Card Skimming Scam

Ventura County DA Warns Of Credit/Debit Skimming Devices

Wednesday May 11, 2022

     Skimming devices used by thieves to steal funds or information from credit and debit cards from unsuspecting card users is nothing new, but some of the money being lost to those fake devices now includes those EBT cards used by people collecting welfare or unemployment benefits.

     The Ventura County District Attorney's Office says during the first three days of this month Ventura County lost $22,000 in welfare EBT skimming theft.

     Statewide, those losses for May so far are nearly $4 million.

     The latest skimming device mimicking a point-of-sale machine was discovered and recovered from the 7-Eleven store in Moorpark according to the DA.

     The thieves usually distract a store clerk in order to place the skimmer on the legitimate point of sale machine.

     Then the skimmer either sends the information directly to the suspects via Bluetooth or stores the data and the device is later recovered by the thieves, downloaded, and then used to clone a card that is used to steal the funds.

     The DA says some signs that a skimming device has been installed are:

     1) Labels on the machine indicating the chip reader does not work

     2) The chip reader function does not work and directs the user to swipe instead

     3) The sides of the device shift, lift or appear bulky which indicates an overlay

     4) The point-of-sale machine appears unnecessarily worn or does not match other machines at the counter    

     The most secure point-of-sale transactions are via tap function, chipped cards, or app-based pay systems such as Apple Pay or Google Pay.

     If you must use the magnetic strip swipe function at a point-of-sale machine, avoid using a card where a PIN number is required.