John Horvath, Police Chief
168 Main St.
Rockport, MA 01834
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Rockport Police Department Advises Residents to be Cautious Around Gas Stations to Avoid Skimming
ROCKPORT– As residents gear up to travel for the holidays, Chief Horvath and the Rockport Police Department would like to remind residents to be vigilant around gas stations and other retail locations to avoid credit and debit card skimming thefts.
“Unfortunately, this crime has become increasingly more prevalent, especially around this time of year,” Chief Horvath said. “Please be cognizant of your surroundings while filling up your tank or finishing your shopping. If something looks suspicious, immediately call police.”
Thieves may attach devices, designed to look like a normal card reader, to money machines that read and store your debit and credit card information once you swipe them. Hidden cameras often accompany these fake machines to record your personal identification number (PIN), giving thieves everything they need to drain your account or to make unauthorized purchases.
Consumers should take the following steps, advised by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, to minimize their risk of skimming identity theft and fraud:
- Pay with cash or credit/debit inside the service station or retail store.
- If you use plastic at the pump, use your credit card. This likely limits your liability to $50, protects your PIN number and prevents direct access to your bank account.
- Inspect the card reader and gas pump for broken security seals or evidence of tampering. If identified, notify the station attendant and contact local law enforcement.
- Use gas pumps that are closest to the service station attendant.
- Monitor your bank and credit card accounts regularly. If you notice unusual activity contact your bank or card issuer immediately.
- If your financial information has been stolen, file a police report, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and contact a credit report agency to ensure no credit applications have been made in your name.