Program to protect against card skimming

Published 9:50 am Monday, March 28, 2016

Police department to collaborate with businesses

The Albert Lea Police Department is looking to install protective devices against credit card skimmers on gas pumps.

Detective Ben Mortensen said the program, Skim Stop, would be a collaboration between police and area businesses. After seals are placed on the pumps, police would place a yellow sticker on the device to tell customers the pump is safe.

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Businesses would be responsible for checking the device once a day and maintaining daily information to prevent skimming.

Mortensen said he hopes the program is in place in Albert Lea by the end of April, noting the idea for the program came from the Eagan Police Department.

The program would be free of charge to businesses.

Businesses that implement the protective devices will be displayed on the city of Albert Lea’s website and the Albert Lea Police Department’s Facebook page.

Mortensen said patrol officers and business employees are being trained to find skimmers.

He said skimmers are dangerous, because they can drain your bank accounts by retrieving your personal information.

Proximity skimming occurs when a magnetic strip can be used to pull bank card information from you from a close proximity, he said.

Freeborn County Sheriff Kurt Freitag earlier this year advised having credit card companies alert you in the event of a credit card purchase of more than a certain amount of money.

Freitag said skimmers will often be a different color than the devices and added there will be other abnormalities.

He advised looking at two identical pumps or ATMs and, if possible, observing any differences in the card readers.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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