After police say a cloned credit card was used in Roanoke, experts with the Better Business Bureau are reminding people of ways to keep their information protected.
From scammers and skimmers, there are many ways thieves try to steal personal and credit card information.
“I’ve gotten a lot of people that say they’re the IRS, and they’re not,” said Grace Swanner, a Roanoke resident.
That’s why many people say they like to take precautions.
“I’ll be cautious about who I go to online,” said Cedric McGeorge, who also lives in Roanoke.
“I just strictly try to pay [with] cash,” said Bill Davis, a Bedford resident.
Experts agree being careful with your credit cards isn’t a bad idea.
“They can take that information and then make cards with that information on them,” said Julie Wheeler of the Better Business Bureau of Western Virginia.
Thieves often use skimmers at gas pumps and ATMs to clone credit cards, Wheeler said. It’s much harder to clone chips on credit cards, she added, but those cards are still possible to copy if they have been used at a business without chip-reader technology.
“It does add a little bit more protection against fraudulent use of cards,” Wheeler said. “But it’s also expensive for businesses to convert to that.”
To avoid becoming a victim, Wheeler said, it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for skimmers by checking for bulky or loose parts.
“When you’re at the gas pump or the ATM machine, make sure nothing looks off,” she explained. “That there isn’t something attached to the front of it, the lights don’t come through.”
Many people have fallen victim to fraud and don’t even realize it, Wheeler said. That’s why she suggests checking your bank and credit card statements regularly.
“If you have online access, you want to look at it daily,” she said. “Make sure there aren’t transactions on there that you didn’t authorize. The quicker you catch the card being misused, the quicker you can call and cancel that card and prevent any further damage.”
If you have become a victim of fraud, you should immediately cancel the affected card, put a fraud alert on your account through the credit bureaus and keep track of your statements, Wheeler said.