INTERVIEW: Better Business Bureau warns against new credit card theft method, “shimming”

Listen to KID Newsradio’s full interview with Jeremy Johnson, Marketplace Manager for the Better Business Bureau



IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The Better Business Bureau is warning people about a new technique scammers are using to bypass credit card protections.

“When skimmers were getting into gas pumps or ATM’s, they were affecting the security of that and so now, because we have chips and gas stations and ATM’s have kind of combated that, now we’ve got shimming,” Jeremy Johnson, Marketplace Manager for the Better Business Bureau, told KID Newsradio. “Con artists are taking a little piece of technology that they’re shoving in that ATM or card that can’t be detected…a small chip, like that and they’re putting it in there so it can detect your card.”

Unlike it’s predecessor, credit card shimming is much tougher to notice. As gas stations combated skimming by putting stickers over the units surrounding the card slot that would read “void” if tampered with, Johnson said the new methods employed by scammers are virtually undetectable.

“It can’t be seen like some of the other skimming devices,” Johnson said.

Naturally, gas stations and ATM companies are working on combating the new methods, but Johnson said there are some signs people can look for.

“There’s a little green lock light in most gas stations who have inserted this kind of security and I’ve been told that if that lock light isn’t on that should be a flag, red flag, to be careful of that,” Johnson said. “We at the BBB definitely suggest some of the best ways to protect yourself from this is if you do insert your card and it seems really tight, it’s hard to insert, that that may be detect that there’s something else in there.”

Johnson said it’s always best to be aware and if possible, always try to use a credit card when purchasing things like gas.

“In debit accounts, you know, checking accounts, if they’re cleaned out a lot of times it’s kind of more complicated to get your money back where credit card companies are easier to work with, it’s easier to kind of cancel charges,” Johnson said.