Montana experts warn of new credit-card scam

AS MONTANANS HIT THE ROAD FOR SUMMER TRIPS, LAW ENFORCEMENT REMINDS YOU TO WATCH OUT FOR CREDIT CARD SKIMMERS IN TONIGHT'SFRAUD WATCH, M-T-N'S JONATHON AMBARIAN LOOKS AT HOW YOU – CAN PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION

AUTHORITIES SAY THEY'RE SEEING A SPIKE IN STOLEN CREDIT AND DEBIT CARD INFORMATIONCG: BRYAN LOCKERBY, MONTANA DIVISION OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION ADMINISTRA TOR"THERE'S BEEN ABOUT A 70 PERCENT INCREASE IN PAYMENT CARD SCAMS OCCURRING AROUND THE UNITED STATES"ONE OF THE COMMON TACTICS IS THE USE OF A CARD SKIMMER, ATTACHED TO AN A-T-M OR CREDIT CARD SLOT"THEY TAKE THAT TRANSACTION INFORMATION THAT'S ON THE STRIP OF A DEBIT OR A CREDIT CARD, TRY TO GET A PIN NUMBER AND USE THAT TO CASH IN FOR CRIMINAL PURPOSES"BRYAN LOCKERBY OF THE MONTANA DIVISION OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION SAYS CRIMINALS WILL USUALLY PLACE SKIMMERS IN AREAS THAT AREN'T CONSTANTLY MONITORED

ONE OF THE MOST COMMON IS ON A GAS PUMP"THE CRIMINALS GO TO THE LOW-HANGING FRUIT"ANYONE CAN BE A VICTIMLOCKERBY SAYS HIS DAUGHTER HAD HER INFORMATION STOLEN, AND THEN IT HAPPENED TO HIM"I RECEIVED A FRAUD ALERT VIA PHONE FROM MY BANK, SAYING SOMEONE TRIED TO USE YOUR DEBIT CARD IN CALIFORNIA

SO IT'S VERY LIKELY THAT IT HAPPENED TO ME, USING A GAS PUMP HERE IN MONTANA"LOCKERBY SAYS A SKIMMER IS MOST LIKELY TO BE ON ONLY ONE PUMP AT A STATION, USUALLY ONE FARTHEST FROM THE STAFF'S VIEWCG: JONATHON AMBARIAN"GAS STATION OWNERS ARE ALSO TAKING STEPS TO DISCOURAGE SKIMMERS AT MONROE'S HIGH COUNTRY TRAVEL PLAZA IN HELENA, EMPLOYEES CHECK THE CREDIT CARD SLOT SEVERAL TIMES A DAY TO MAKE SURE IT'S NOT LOOSE THEY'VE ALSO INSTALLED A NEW LOCK ON THE TERMINAL, SO THAT SCAMMERS CAN'T INSTALL AN INTERNAL SKIMMER

"LOCKERBY SAYS THE BEST THING TO DO, IF YOU SEE ANYTHING SUSPICIOUS, IS SIMPLY TO TELL SOMEONE"ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS NOTIFY A CLERK AND MAYBE GO TO A DIFFERENT PUMP AND YOU'LL BE FINE"IN HELENA, JONATHON AMBARIAN, M-T-N NEWS LOCKERBY SAYS CREDIT CARDS HAVE MORE LAYERS OF PROTECTION THAN DEBIT CARDS YOU CAN ALSO AVOID ANY IDENTITY THEFT RISK -BY PAYING FOR GAS WITH CASH

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT SCAMS, YOU CAN CONTACT THE MONTANA OFFICE OF CONSUMER