Police warn of identity theft scams


BETHLEHEM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Bethlehem police get several victims a day claiming to have their identity stolen. And a lot of them happen at a gas pump or an ATM machine.

It’s because of a device called a skimmer. It’s hooked on to ATM machines, gas pumps, and can even be found at restaurants.

“[Thieves] can make tens of thousands, I mean, a device like this will hold up to 500 peoples credit cards,” said Bethlehem Police Commander Adam Hornick.

Hornick said it’s important to flag fraudulent charges right away. The longer the wait, the more likely information can be sold to other criminals.

“They can actually sell that information on the dark web. And when it’s sold on the dark web, then it’s downloaded, that’s when people become even more of a victim of identity theft,” Hornick said.

With skimming being so common, a major one happening recently across several counties in the Capital Region, here’s what he advises.

“Before you put your card in, just pull on the device — see if it moves, shakes, vibrates. It may come off. If it comes off, then you know you’ve found a skimmer at that location,” Hornick said.

Hornick also said a lot of times people only call their bank to have charges reversed. He said its important to notify them as well because the fraud is likely happening to other people.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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