DENVER (CBS4) – Every day crooks are coming up with new ways to steal people’s identity and credit card information. On Tuesday detectives from across Colorado were learning new ways to stop them.
Police say thieves like ATMs at gas stations and convenience stores because there aren’t many people around to see them attaching a skimmer to the machine. Once the skimmer is on, it is just a matter of minutes until they have everything they need to go on a shopping spree with somebody else’s credit card.
Because of the rise in identity theft and credit card fraud, there is a growing industry of financial detectives. The law enforcement officers are being trained not to thwart bank robberies, but to stop the more stealth criminals.
“In an identity theft scenario, a lot of it can be done clandestine in their homes where they have the privacy; doors and windows shut,” Detective Fred Longobricco with Thornton police said.
Check washing is when thieves erase information on checks and fill it in with their information. That can be easily stopped merely by the type of pen used to write a check with. Gel pens hold much better than ballpoint pens.
Thieves put skimmers on ATM machines where there may not be many store personnel to watch the machines.
“If I go to the gas station pump, I tug on the machine before I put my credit card in, and if it’s loose I know that more than likely there’s a skimmer put on it,” Paige Hanson with ID Theft Prevention said.
One swipe on a skimmer and thieves can use the information to clean out an account in less than a minute.
Every day there are 55 million credit card transactions in the U.S.