How thieves use skimmers to steal your debit card information

Imagine pulling up at a gas station and sticking your debit card in the card reader. You put in your PIN number, not thinking there’s anything wrong.

Within a few days, you find out your account has been wiped clean.

It’s happened to unsuspecting people around the country where thieves install skimmers, or fake card readers, in hopes of stealing the information off your card.

“The debit card in this particular case is important because the scammers take it and they skim the information off of the magnetic strip,” said Hawaii Better Business Bureau CEO Greg Dunn.

Dunn says once the thieves have your card information and PIN number, they can easily create a fake credit card in your name.

That fake card can then be put into an ATM and used as a duplicate of your original card to withdraw the maximum daily amount out of your checking account.

So what should you do?

The Hawaii BBB says if you’re only allowed to pay by debit card, that should be a red flag.

Don’t use your debit card at businesses you don’t trust, or at businesses where the card reader is left unattended since thieves can easily install skimming devices. Instead, use a credit card, since your credit card company will protect you from fraud up to a certain dollar amount.

Always monitor your bank accounts for any suspicious activity and report it right away.

If you have a consumer concern, or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, give us a call at 591-0222 weekdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., or send an email to

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