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Police provide tips on how to protect yourself against card skimmers

Release Date: May 5, 2023


Though using your credit card at the gas station pump and drive-up ATMs is convenient, the bad guys are targeting these locations. They are using a technology called “card skimmers” to read and record your card information in a matter of seconds. With each card skimmer being able to hold details on about 80 cards, protecting yourself at gas station pumps and ATMs should be a priority now more than ever.


How does it work?


Card skimmers are physical devices that cybercriminals attach to the credit card reader of an ATM or gas pump. The card skimmer then reads the magnetic strip on the card to gather your full name, the card number, and the expiration date. Once the skimmer reads your card information, the cybercriminals can then sell your information or use it to gain access to your bank account. These skimmers are designed to fit tightly over the real card reader at the gas station and ATM, making them undetectable if you don’t know what to look for.


How to avoid card Skimmers?


To protect yourself against card skimmers, follow these helpful tips:


  • Pay with cash. Paying with cash will completely eliminate the risk of coming in contact with a card skimmer.
  • Shake and pull the card reader. If the card reader is loose or looks tampered with, pay inside and report it.
  • Go inside. Paying inside of the gas station or going into the bank will reduce the risk of coming in contact with a card skimmer since it is less likely that the card readers inside have been tampered with.
  • Use mobile payment options if they are available. Use options like Google or Apple Pay to eliminate having to use your card.
  • Download a Skimmer Scanner app. These apps, which are available on both the App Store and Google Play, will warn you about where card skimmers are located in the area.


Stop, look, and think. Don’t be fooled by the scammers.

Contact Us

Kingston Police
705 Division Street
Kingston, Ontario
K7K 4C2

Telephone: 613-549-4660
TTY (hearing impaired): 613-549-8792
Administration Fax: 613-549-3111
Operations Fax: 613-549-7111

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