Credit Card Skimmer Found in Chicago Store

Inside Subprime: August 26, 2019

By Lindsay Frankel

Chicago police are cautioning consumers about credit card safety after finding a credit card skimmer in an ATM at a Target store downtown. The skimmer was found in an area with a high concentration of Chicago payday loan stores, which are known to target financially vulnerable people.

Police responded to the store on South State Street after a technician located the skimming device. It remains uncertain how long the skimmer was there, and there aren’t currently any suspects in custody.

A credit card skimmer is a device typically installed at a gas pump or ATM that is designed to steal your credit card information for the purpose of making clone cards.

According to Consumer Reports, as recently as 2016 there was 70 percent jump in credit and debit cards being compromised at ATMs and card readers. Gas stations are an easy target for crooks because most have not updated their payment terminals with chip technology, which can help prevent skimming.

Representatives from the Better Business Bureau along with Chicago police have several suggestions for detecting skimming technology. The simplest way to find out if there’s a skimming device installed at an ATM or gas pump is to “jiggle the card port before you insert your card, because normally you’ll be able to tell if there is a device that’s put there to compromise your account information,” said Officer Zeyad Matlock.There are also apps you can download that will help detect the presence of a credit card skimmer.

Steve Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois, also suggests putting your hand over the PIN pad while entering your information, since hidden cameras are sometimes used to steal PIN information.

In addition, activate text alerts for your credit card account so you can uncover fraudulent transactions right away. Report your suspicions to your bank or credit card issuer immediately.

Credit card skimming drains Americans of about $2 billion annually. To avoid becoming a victim, consider taking steps to find out if there’s a device installed before using an ATM or gas pump.

Learn more about payday loans, scams, and cash advances by checking out our city and state financial guides, including FloridaIllinoisChicagoOhioTexas, and more.