Credit card shimmers: Valley officials seeing new threat to card security

Posted at 9:38 PM, Feb 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-03 07:33:42-05

Officials say a new threat to credit card security is popping up around the Valley, and consumers need to be careful. 

While dozens of credit card skimmers have been found around our state, the latest danger at ATMs and gas pumps are called "shimmers", and experts say they're mostly undetectable. 

According to PC Mag, the devices are extremely thin, with an embedded microchip and flash storage inside the card reader. 

Compared to bulkier skimmers, shimmers are much harder to spot. And when a criminal goes to collect their stash of data, they insert a special card of their own, making it look like they're using the ATM just like any other customer.  

"The Department of Weights and Measurements keeps track of all the different skimmers/shimmers that have been used at gas stations," Tempe Police Sgt. Josie Montenegro said. "Gas stations have been the most frequent location for the use of these devices. Unfortunately, most cities have encountered problems with these types of devices and crimes.  

So how do you avoid becoming a victim?

  • Use mobile pay services like Apple or Samsung Pay if available, which lets you tap a machine with your info instead of swiping a card.  
  • If you're withdrawing cash at the bank, go inside to a teller. 
  • Ask business owners if they're doing daily checks to spot shimmer devices.