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The South Carolina Federal Credit Union sent out a letter to members this week alerting them of multiple people spotting fraudulent transaction on debit cards recently and are warning them to be cautious. In the letter, the South Carolina Federal Credit Union says the security of some of these debit card users has been compromised, but the credit union itself has not been hacked. The US Secret Service tells News 2 this information could have been compromised due to the increased use of card skimmers.
US Secret Service Agent in Charge of the Charleston Office, John Kenney, says, “You want to make sure that it’s the actual device that you’re using, whether it’s the ATM or the gas pump. You want to make sure that there aren’t any skimmers attached to it because we have seen an up-tick in skimmer activity. So if the device doesn’t look like it belongs to the gas station or the bank, if it looks like it’s been added on, if you see any cameras over your shoulder, you want to be very careful about using that and in fact you want not to use it and to contact local police.”
He says card users should be especially vigilant after business hours.
Kenney says, “At night, especially in the late hours, there’s nobody at the bank and there’s usually only one clerk at the gas station so you will see them attached at night.”
In the statement from the South Carolina Federal Credit Union, it says South Carolina has one of the highest rates of fraud in the country. The US Secret Service says that’s not necessarily true, but every debit and credit card user can be vulnerable to identity theft.
Kenney says, “We’re one of the smaller states, lower population, and we can’t say that we have higher rates of fraud than anyone else. There are always frauds being committed, there’s always cyber crime being committed. If you have a credit card or you have a debit card it has to be protected because there are bad guys that want to get a hold of that.”
He says some ways to stay safe include carefully checking any card reader for a skimmer, only using credit cards for online purchases (not debit cards), and monitoring your bank account closely. He says sometimes thieves will withdraw smaller amounts at a time to go unnoticed, so if you see any unauthorized purchases, notify your bank and local police immediately.