Beware of "Skimmers and Shimmers" during your holiday travel

Hands Paying With Debit or Credit Card
Posted at 2:23 PM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 21:28:32-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Chances are if you are traveling for Thanksgiving you’ll be carrying a credit card for gas, snacks and meals but buyer beware this holiday season.

"This may be the best time to sign up for those alerts that our credit card or banks offer," said ODU Associate Professor Ariel Pinto.

Pinto says devices called Skimmer and Shimmers are out in full force at ATM's, gas pumps, and other payment terminals.

"You can spot them like something peculiar or tampered, or a shiny card reader on an old machine, or look for wires hanging out," said Pinto.

The devices read your credit card strip or chip stealing your information through Bluetooth technology, then your cards can be used freely, sold on the dark web, or your cards can even be cloned.

"It takes several weeks of hundreds of victims before they're detected," said Pinto. "They will change hands and eventually go for sale for highest bidder and they can do purchases with your money."

Pinto has several tips to avoid the cyber trap.

He says to frequent places that are well lit, with monitored payment terminals and have heavy foot traffic and to use cashless apps.

If you feel you were a victim of skimmed-and-shimmed scheme on the road, he said, "do not let it ruin your holiday."