VAIL, Colo. (CBS4)– Police in Vail have issued a warning to consumers after a credit card skimmer was found on an ATM inside the Vail Transportation Center.

The skimmer was found in the transportation center located at 241 S. Frontage Road in Vail. The device was attached directly over the card reader for the machine and was nearly impossible to detect by users.

Skimming devices read the information stored on the card while the card passes through the attached device. The vendor of the ATM, Alpine Vending, discovered the device after receiving a complaint from a customer who believed activity on a credit card account was related to the use of the machine.

Police believe the device may have been in place for weeks and was enabled with a Bluetooth which allow the criminals to access the stolen data without physically touching the skimmer. They can download the information within Bluetooth range, about 30 to 300 feet.

Police say it’s good practice to try to conceal your PIN while entering it on the keyboard and that one of the most effective ways to guard against fraud is the close monitoring of your account.

Additional Information from Vail Police:

Guidance for Credit Card Skimmer Fraud Awareness

  • When possible, use the same ATM and gas pumps so you become familiar with the appearance of the card reader.
  • Skimmers often disrupt the smooth entry/exit of the card. If the card action seems jerky or uneven, notify the vendor and treat the transaction as suspicious.
  • Inspect the card reader and the area near the PIN pad for any suspicious devices or tampered-with equipment.
  • If using a debit card, attempt to conceal the PIN from visual detection by covering the keypad with your hand as you enter it.
  • Use gas pumps and ATMs that are in plain view of passersby and surveillance cameras.
  • Look at other nearby gas pumps or ATM card readers to see if they match the one you are using.
  • For ATMs, inspect the device – look for uneven colors or loose PIN pads – and tug on card slot before insertion.
  • Avoid gas pumps where the tamper-safe security seal affixed to the pump has been broken.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Vail Police Department at 970-479-2201.

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