Crowley, LA (KPEL News) - Skimmer thefts rose 368% from 2021 to 2022 nationwide, according to FICO. We expect that number to increase from 2022 to 2023 with crooks becoming more savvy. Louisiana news outlets have published dozens of reports about skimmers at ATM machines, gas pumps, big box stores, and even issues with EBT cards.

Louisiana law enforcement officials work diligently to not only find the people responsible for installing them, but also to identify the locations at which they were placed.

Skimmers are devices placed on credit or debit card machines that capture the information from the card being used. That stolen information is then used to make purchases.

Deputies with the Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office have taken two of these alleged criminals off the street.

Sheriff KP Gibson says his team discovered a skimmer at an Acadia Parish business and was able to identify the suspects.

29-year-old Anned Enriquez Orozco of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and 40-year-old Garcia Ceballos Alberto of Miami Florida were both arrested and charged with Identity Theft. Orozco was also charged with Obstruction of Justice and Anti-Skimming Laws.

Sheriff Gibson explains that the devices fit over the card slot of the device and can be removed by pulling on it. Since these skimmers became a concern for consumers, we've all learned to "jiggle" the device at the gas pump before inserting our cards.

The problem is that skimmer have gotten more sophisticated and are more difficult to identify.

The videos below show a couple of the skimmers criminals are using and how to identify them.

Skimmers can be, essentially, face plates that are placed over the credit or debit card machine inside the store at the counter. Ever wonder how bad guys install them without anyone seeing them do it? Check this out.

The faceplate looks like this:

card skimmer
Facebook via Eunice Police Department

As a legendary commercial talent famously said, but wait! There's more.

The video below shows and example of a gas pump skimmer on the card reader and how to spot it.

The skimming criminals have taken it a step further and now use devices to lay over the gas pump key pad. The video below is one circulating on social media, and nearly all states are seeing thieves use this method.

Law enforcement agencies around the country are using every opportunity they can to educate consumers about the ways in which scammers are stealing your card information, and those tricks go further than the external components of these point of sale machines. They can now gain access to the digital tape inside the machines, and the customer is completely oblivious because the nefarious gadgetry can't be seen.

The videos and information are enough to make all of us want to use cash only, but that's not practical in today's world. Remember a few tips to lessen your chances of having your card information stolen:

  • If the card reader jiggles or feels loose, pay inside.
  • If the buttons on the keypad are not as responsive as they should be, pay inside.
  • If anything seems off about whatever card machine the business is using, pay cash or cancel the transaction.
  • Trust your gut.

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