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Abilene police give tips to prevent card skimming

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ABILENE, Texas - Skimming fraud is a sophisticated crime, according to the Abilene Police Department, and it may take weeks to catch when it happens.

Thieves will place skimming devices in and outside of gas pump card readers and ATMs. In a matter of minutes, the criminals can have your credit card and banking information.

APD Fraud Detective Justin Gates said he has seen less than 10 cases in Abilene in his three and a half years as detective. He said the department is only made aware of a device in the area when people report unauthorized transactions.

"Usually they'll leave the skimmer on there for weeks to months, and then they commit the fraud after the skimming device is gone," Gates said.

The state began monitoring skimming devices in April. This interactive map shows which gas stations the Texas Department of Agriculture have been hit by skimmers. Most are found in big cities like Houston, Dallas, and Austin.

The last big skimming fraud incident in Abilene was in 2015 when skimmers targeted a First Financial Bank ATM. Hundreds were affected by the incident.

Gates said people should observe the card reader and check for anything that doesn ' t look right, like a card-reading plate that is too big or sticks out. They can also check for a customized seal at the gas pumps.

Gates advises people to monitor their bank accounts, and as soon as they see unusual activity they should call their bank.

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