Sevierville police see rise in use of credit card skimmers

(source: Sevierville Police Department)
(source: Sevierville Police Department)

SEVIERVILLE (WATE) – A high tech crime is sweeping the area to hijack your credit card information. Law enforcement in Sevierville say reports of skimmers have increased in the last several weeks, and now they are warning people what to look out for.

There are two types: internal and external. External card skimmers are easier to spot. They are placed right over the area you swipe your card.

“What we recommend you do is just go up to that device and wiggle it a little bit,” said Sevierville spokesperson Bob Stahlke.

Unfortunately, police say they are seeing more internal ones.

Related: 11 ways to protect yourself from credit, debit card skimmers

“The way they get those internal skimmers in is by opening up this door and going inside and basically hijacking the system that’s there,” said Stahlke.

One good way to know if an internal skimmer may have been put on the gas pump you are using is to check for a sticker over the gas pump door that says it has been inspected. Not all gas stations use them, but some do, and if they are tampered with, writing appears on it.

“We’ve also seen other types of skimmers like this that have Bluetooth connectivity,” said Jason Brown with the U.S. Secret Service.

Gas pumps are not the only places they are used. They can be used on ATMs or in-store credit card machines. Law enforcement says the best thing you can do is keep an eye on your accounts and report any suspicious activity.

“We’re a tourist area, especially this time of the year in the fall, so it’s going to be particularly interesting for the criminals to target our area right now,” said Brown.

They also say there have not been many fraud attempts on chip card readers, but gas pumps will not be required to use chip readers until late next year.

The Sevierville Police Department released photos of who they say are persons of interest in the skimmer investigation and are asking for anyone with information to call the Sevierville Police Department.

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