FOX43 Finds Out: How to get your money back if you’ve fallen victim to a skimming device

YORK COUNTY, Pa -- Some people have reported losing thousands of dollars after crooks got a hold of their banking information from a skimming device.

Police say the devices are popping up all over ATM's and gas pumps across Central Pennsylvania.

FOX43 finds out what you can do to protect your money and what police are doing to track down the criminals.

The Wright family from Fairview Township, York County know exactly what a skimming device can do.

Nikki and Jamie wright say they lost nearly $1,600 after someone read their credit card information off of a skimming device.

"I'm looking at our bank account, and i see that we have 7 or 8 withdrawals out of the ATM for 400, 500, 600 dollars a time," said Jamie Wright.

While the Wright's figure it out for themselves other people like Jody Boyington from Newberry Township found out someone had his information when his bank called.

"I'm actually quite appreciative they called me and let me know what happened because i really hadn't been paying much attention and I wouldn't have found out otherwise," said Boyington.

While police say each skimming device may be a little different, they all pretty much work the same way.

"It reads the numbers off your card. Were finding out that theyre usually using a video camera to watch the keypad that correlates with your number," said Newberry Township Police Chief John Snyder

Once the crooks know your debit card and pin numbers, they just replicate the card with your information and withdraw your cash.

Police have a hard time tracking down the criminals too, saying a lot of them may steal your information and withdraw the cash all from one location.

That makes it harder to tell if it's actually you taking out the money or a crook.

So, how can you spot a skimming device? Well it's not that easy.

"Technicians that work on these things even said they blend in so well they cant see them," said Chief Snyder.

You can try looking for something like a loose wire or if it's hard to put the card in and out of the machine.

Those might be some clues that something isn't right.

"Definitely check the reader, make sure nothing looks out of place or loose. Shake it a little bit if you have too. Check your account statements."

If you notice something is wrong with your statement like the wright family did, Jamie Ness from First Capital Federal Credit Union says to call your bank.

"Get your fraud case started. We would have to close your card, issue a new one with a new number and then we would refund your money."

Which is good news, if you're a victim of skimming, you're probably getting your money back.

Remember when your bank or credit card company sent you that new card with a chip on it.

Well that was supposed to prevent this kind of fraud.

"Because the gas pumps and a lot of ATM terminals don't have that, that's how this is still occurring," said Ness.

The credit card networks required merchants to switch over to chip readers in October of 2015, but that's not where the skimming devices are used.

Ness said, "The liability shift has not happened for gas stations or ATM just yet."

ATM's should have switched over by October of last year.

According to a Consumer report, at the beginning of the year, only a small percentage of atm's have switched over to chip readers - mostly because it's expensive to switch and gas stations now have until 2020 to switch to card readers.

That all means skimming devices can still steal your information for a few more years.

Experts say the best way to avoid a skimming device is to actually go to your bank and take money out from a teller.
and pay for things in cash.

"I already told her i'm always going to carry cash from now on," said Wright.

Also important to note, that even a chip reader won't keep you safe.

Tech companies are reporting that crooks overseas are creating something called a shimmer device.

It's similar to the skimming ones used now, but reads the chip on your card too.