A North Texas couple was out thousands of dollars after being hit by credit card skimmers, as the alarming trend continues to rise across the country.
Kelsi DeKeyser was out shopping when she received a fraud alert from her bank, Wells Fargo. She quickly got on the phone with the bank, but while she was still with customer service, the skimmers drained her checking account of $6,500, according to a CBS News report.
Despite filing a fraud claim with her bank, it was apparently rejected 10 days later on the basis that the card’s chip could not have been duplicated. According to Wells Fargo, since the chip card was still in DeKeyser’s possession and she had never given her PIN to anyone, her card had not been lost or stolen and it must have been her card used in the transaction.
Together with her husband Alex, DeKeyser tried to appeal the fraud team’s decision; however, investigators reportedly refused to reopen the case.
DeKeyser believes her card was skimmed while she was shopping.
Something similar happened to Nyshje Rattler, a McKinney resident who discovered credit card skimmers had hit her after being charged nearly $1,000 after buying a bag of chips and water at a local 7-Eleven.
Speaking to CBS Austin, she said that she knew exactly where she last used her card and went back to check the machine.
“And I just literally lifted it up and it was there,” said Rattler.
Skimming devices using a Bluetooth signal can capture information from 30 to 100 cards a day. The information can then be sold online and put on a cloned card anywhere in the world, all without ever requiring physical possession of the actual card.
According to McKinney Police Sergeant Tina Malenfant, while gas pumps were once skimmers’ favorite spot, nowadays they are increasingly targeting ATMs and point-of-sale devices, such as at grocery stores.
Malenfant advises assuming a skimmer is everywhere and recommends testing the machine before putting in a card.
“In order to keep from being a victim, we have to start being smarter than the bad guys,” she said. “We have to start trying to pull the little devices off. I do it myself. I walk up and look at it. If it looks weird, then I won’t use that machine.”
Criminals have also begun targeting Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards due to their outdated magstripe technology, making hacking easy. The State of Texas has received over 100 reports of skimmers hitting EBT cards.
“EBT cards are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to technology. They are still reliant on that outdated mag stripe technology, which is frankly over 40 years old. It’s hopelessly insecure,” said John Breyault of the National Consumers League.
Breyault explained that while most states replace lost EBT benefits, Texas is not one of them. Yet when it comes to credit and debit cards, the law is clear.
“Banks are required under federal law to make you whole when there is fraud,” he asserted.
The DeKeysers were contacted by Wells Fargo after telling them about their interview with CBS News. The bank agreed to replace the $6,500 stolen from their family’s account, although the DeKeysers have since closed it and moved to another bank.
Wells Fargo issued a statement following the reimbursement.
“When a customer notifies us of an issue, we immediately conduct a thorough investigation. We were able to reimburse the customer for the money scammers took based on additional information we found. We regret the inconvenience and stress our customer encountered before then. To help our customers quickly identify fraud and scams, we have a number of resources available through our Online Security Center.”
Credit card skimming is expected to cost banks and consumers more than $1 billion this year.
Fraud is just one of the many crimes Texans should be aware of, especially those living in Dallas. City officials continue to struggle to prevent crime in Dallas, as The Dallas Express Crime Boss of the Month feature demonstrates.