Credit Card Skimmers Taking Advantage of the Busy Holiday Season

December 11, 2013 12:52 pm · 33 comments

Check those bank statements, because according to one Claycordian, credit card skimming is out of control this holiday season.

Skimming is the theft of credit or debit card information that was taken during a legal transaction. Criminals use machines that are attached to other machines, mostly gas pumps, to steal your information.

Here’s information from one Claycordian who wants to warn others….

In back-to-back weeks at different locations, people who I work with have had their card information stolen and almost with in the hour someone trying to purchase items in Visalia.

Last week it happened to my Boss at Shell in Walnut Creek, and just last night to myself at a gas station in Lafayette. In talking with Chase Bank locally, they have had reports of skimmers from other gas stations in Lafayette. Another coworker experienced a similar incident a month ago at one of the discount stations on Clayton Rd. near Treat. That’s Lafayette, Walnut Creek and Concord in a short period of time affecting three people at the same company. If that’s any kind of sample, skimming is out of control this year.

Best advice is to go inside and pay. Avoid the convenience paying at the pump. I appreciate Chase declining the purchases. They knew I had just purchased gas in Lafayette so I can’t be in Best Buy in Visalia making a purchase. They promptly declined and contacted me via text message. Awesome service!

Good to hear they declined the transaction. Thanks for the warning!

Remember, check those statements, especially if you’ve purchased gas with a debit card. With so many purchases being made during the holiday season, it’s easy to miss one or two transactions.


1 NotEntitled December 11, 2013 at 12:57 PM

I had my credit card skimmed somewhere in Concord, not sure where. Chase emailed me to tell me they declined a $1700 purchase at Nordstrom’s in southern California. Obviously they know this is waaay outside my normal spending habits ;-)

2 anon December 11, 2013 at 1:04 PM

We had someone make 2 $200 purchases at a Walgreens in San Francisco and then try to purchase a Limo Ride all in San Francisco. My mom lives out of state and the same thing happened to her out of the Anne Walgreens. He bank caught it right away since she lives or of state.

3 Charles-the-cat December 11, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Thanks for the warning. I mostly stopped using my card at gas stations when they started (1) charging more for credit than cash and (2) putting a 4 day, $120 “hold” on credit cards regardless of the purchase amount. The latter one really bit me big time when we were on a road trip last summer and I couldn’t reserve a hotel room because my credit card was maxed out. Still, when it’s cold and rainy during the winter, I might be tempted to give in and use the card. Will think twice about that now.

4 KK December 11, 2013 at 1:38 PM

My husband’s card was skimmed at a Chevron station in Antioch. Luckily our bank declined all the charges for I Tunes, hotels in Memphis and San Diego, shopping on QVC, an oil change and car rental in Minneapolis. They also canceled my his card when they were unable to contact us by phone.

5 bygoneit December 11, 2013 at 1:47 PM

It doesn’t just happen at the pump. Late November I had dinner at a sit down restaurant on Clayton Rd.. When the bill came, I handed the waiter my debit card, which I rarely use to pay with- when I checked my bank statement on-line ,there were on-line purchases a short while after I used my card. Turns out one of the employees made a few purchases with my card. They had everything they needed- my card number AND the three number Security code on the back of the card. So, I was advised by my bank to cross out the code, and try to remember the numbers. By the way, I was credited by the bank, and got a new card.

6 Peanut Gallery December 11, 2013 at 1:47 PM

When are the machines out in place? Aren’t there cameras everywhere?

7 Frank L. December 11, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Always have and always will PAY INSIDE for this very reason.

Don’t be lazy. Walk the extra 20 feet to PAY INSIDE.

Once again, common sense.

8 D December 11, 2013 at 2:06 PM

When you go to pay inside, lock your car and be sure easily ‘liftable’ items are out of sight. The other common crime is stealing of the purse or wallet off the seat

9 Mom2Boys December 11, 2013 at 2:27 PM

#5 – I would be interested to know which restaurant that was so I know not to use my card there. Not saying I’ll never eat there, but at least I will know to use cash because their employees cannot be trusted!

10 ohkaydohkay December 11, 2013 at 2:28 PM

oomballola din jambooloo zim zip yah feel me ?

11 Santa Claus December 11, 2013 at 2:33 PM

#10 WTF? No none of us feel you 0r want to feel you!! Santa’s pissed & he’s taking names & your first in line!!!!

12 oak grove posse December 11, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Also when making purchases at the register, ask for your receipt to make sure the cashier didn’t “accidentally” press the CASH BACK button for you.

13 Danielle December 11, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Never let your card leave your sight, whether it’s a gas, credit or debit card.

At the gas station, pay inside.

At the restaurant, pay at the register (even if the waiter insists on taking your card). If you have to hand it to them, pay cash.

At the store, it shouldn’t be an issue, because you’re at the register. Keep any eye on them anyway.

At least credit cards offer more protection than debit cards. The banks aren’t protecting their customers with credit cards, they’re protecting themselves. It’s the banks money….with debit cards, it’s yours.

14 How Strange December 11, 2013 at 3:06 PM

Never have had a problem ’cause I use this kinda green like stuff with pictures n printin’ on it. It folds up an goes right well in your pocket.
When it starts to get low ya just go to the credit union an they give you some more out of my account.

An for some strange reason, don’t have any of those high credit card balances either. Guess I’m just old fashioned, I don’t spend what I don’t already have.

15 Random Task December 11, 2013 at 3:27 PM

ahhhh this lovely state is thriving with its #1 product ……..CRIME….KEEP IT UP VOTERS we will be #1 in the world in no time keep voting in dem has worked for over 40 years maybe another 30 and demifornia will be #1………in the wwoooorrrlllllddddddd…go team

16 Anonymous December 11, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Please tell the servants to be ever so careful when you send them out to shop. Lower classes are up to no good again, and must be watched carefully.

17 Craig December 11, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Skimmers are getting placed all of the place. VERY interesting ongoing article at Krebs on Security website
If you don’t know what to look for this is a good place to begin your education in personal pocketbook protection.

18 Michelle December 11, 2013 at 3:55 PM

Anonymous, #16
You are so right. :-)

19 Be careful December 11, 2013 at 5:21 PM

I caught one of those machines at my banks ATM, also spotted the guy who put it there. Sorry buddy, but the bank got to it before you did and he drove off to fast to get his license #, but they did get his picture.
This mostly happens at gas stations, I never use my ATM anywhere usually but at the bank. Take out what I need for the week and pay cash as I go.
One way to notice is you’ll have trouble getting your card in and out of the ATM. Also check people around you, this guy was sitting in a car across the street watching.

20 Keith December 11, 2013 at 5:30 PM

@ Danielle-13

I totally agree. You have to really watch employees, and never let your card out of sight.

21 Cassandra December 11, 2013 at 6:08 PM

This is scary. I go inside to pay for gas, and try not to let my card out of sight at a restaurant, etc., but I’m sure I’ve done it.

I’ve never been victimized, and stories like this remind me how cautious we all have to be.

22 Miguel December 11, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Since I only have one credit card, and I rarely use it, I’m not too concerned, but I understand the concern of others. If you’re careful enough, you probably won’t get burned. This time of year crooks are in high gear.

23 Sheila December 11, 2013 at 8:03 PM

I understand why some people prefer to pay cash.

I’ve always gone inside at the pump, and try not to give my card to someone who’ll walk away with it.

At least with a credit card you’re protected. Not so with a debit card.

24 bygoneit December 11, 2013 at 8:46 PM

It was the Mexican restaurant next to the fire station.

25 Steve December 11, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Keep any eye on your card, and learn how to recognize if a machine has a skimmer, especially ATMS, and you’ll probably be all right.

26 cg December 11, 2013 at 9:04 PM

Being careful is important. I know you should check your account daily to make sure nothing extra is being taken out. I so appreciate the 7-11 on Concord Blvd you are not able to use your card at the pump they have the pump flashing “Pay inside” A few extra steps to keep us safe is a good thing.

27 Jenny December 11, 2013 at 9:15 PM

Crazy can’t trust anything these days

28 @bygoneit December 11, 2013 at 9:45 PM

Bygoneit, Do you know if the restaurant employee was fired? Arrested?

29 funny man December 11, 2013 at 10:37 PM

no need for me to worry… in this economy all my cards are maxed out anyway.. sux it skimmers!

30 Brian Griffin December 12, 2013 at 9:51 AM

I feel sorry for anyone that takes the time to skim my cards. I’m broke. Good luck with that.

31 Antonio December 12, 2013 at 12:50 PM

If anyone tries skimming my cards, they won’t be getting much.

I never pay at the pump. I try not to hand my card over at restaurants, but sometimes I do. I don’t have enough cash on me. Prefer to pay at the register.

32 calco December 12, 2013 at 4:34 PM

I have had my debit card skimmed twice at one of the discount stations on Clayton Road and Glazier. That was a year ago. Needless to say I don’t buy from there any longer

33 bygoneit December 12, 2013 at 5:24 PM

The manager claims that “they are all like family, and he would look into it.”
I don’t know how far the banks go when they investigate scams.
Does anyone know??

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