San Antonio continues to see a huge increase in those skimmer devices that steal your card information at the gas pump. SAPD records show they found 220 skimmers at gas stations around the city in 2018.
A big jump from the year before when they uncovered 73 of them.
Now a new kind of skimmer is victimizing people at bank ATM’s. They’re called deep insert skimmers.
When News 4 Trouble Shooter Jaie Avila first warned you how to spot ATM skimmers two years ago, crooks were attaching them on the outside of the machines. They used tape to stick them over the slot where you insert your card.
The advice from SAPD at the time was to tug on the card-reader to make sure it hadn't been tampered with.
But deep insert skimmers are virtually impossible for the ATM user to detect because they are planted inside the machines. They look like a thin piece of metal.
“These newer devices, these deep insert skimmers, they're completely invisible from outside the machine," says Lt. Marcus Booth with SAPD.
Thieves are inserting the skimmer right through the slot where you put your card. Then when customers use the ATM, it steals the magnetic stripe information off their cards.
Usually the thieves plant a tiny pinhole camera near the ATM keypad to capture your pin number when you type it in. Booth showed us a camera that had been disguised inside a piece of decorative trim on the outside of an ATM.
In 2018, SAPD found 21 skimming devices on ATM’s at banks, credit unions and businesses.
Two of them were deep insert skimmers.
One was found on the ATM Joe Gonzalez uses frequently, he says he may be changing the way he gets his cash.
“I’ll be more careful and probably get it all from the bank instead of using the ATM," Gonzalez told us.
Deep insert skimmers are becoming more common in other cities. However, SAPD says banks are responding quickly and making changes to their ATM’S.
"Some of these machines can automatically eject these, and some of them have already been retrofitted so that these things can't even be inserted into the machines," said Lt. Booth.
Since you can't see a deep insert skimmer the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to cover up the key pad when you punch in your pin number.