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Sunnyvale DPS Discover Credit Card Skimmer

The Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety (DPS) has issued a warning after discovering a credit card skimmer at a card machine on El Camino Real. The skimming device was found on July 15 at the Chevron/7-Elevent at 1005 W. El Camino Real, close to the intersection with Mary Avenue.

According to Sunnyvale DPS, the case is still under investigation. If you know anything about the incident, you are asked to contact DPS at 408-730-7100. If you think you might be a victim of the skimming device, Sunnyvale DPS says call your financial institution immediately.

A credit card skimmer is a devices that enable thieves to steal card data and use it for fraudulent transactions. They can be tough to spot, as they often look like regular card readers. Being vigilant can help you identify these fraudulent readers. You may have found a skimmer if the card reader looks different from others in the same location. Readers with card skimmers attached may not feel as secure. If you’re able to wiggle the reader, it could have a skimmer attached.

How can you protect yourself from credit card skimmers?

  • Look for unusual features in the card reader. The reader you are using should look like other readers. Also, you should not be able to wiggle the reader.
  • Pull at the edges of the keypad before entering your PIN. Then, cover the keypad when you enter your PIN to prevent cameras from recording your entry.
  • Use debit and credit cards with chip technology. In the U.S., there are fewer devices that steal chip data versus magnetic strip data.
  • Avoid using your debit card when you have linked accounts. Use a credit card instead.
  • Contact your financial institution if the machine doesn’t return your card after you end or cancel a transaction.
  • If you use a debit card, run it as a credit card without using the PIN. If you must use the PIN, cover your hand when typing the number, in case hidden cameras are watching.
  • Look for a broken security seal. Many gas stations now place security seals over the cabinet panel. When the panel is opened, the label will read “void,” a tipoff that tampering has occurred.

While credit card issuers use fraud detection technology and may shut down your card at the first sign of fraud, they don’t catch everything. You might not know your card has been skimmed until you notice fraudulent transactions on your account. If you notice card fraud, contact your issuer right away.

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