HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – With the holiday season, many people are out shopping and police say now is a time to be on high alert for credit card theft.
"We are seeing more and more cases of information being copied and stolen. Credit cards being reproduced without people's knowledge," Lt. Raul Denis said.
Lt. Raul Denis with the Horry County Police Department says there are ways criminals can get someone else's credit card information, and it's easier than one would think.
"People can walk by you on the street and if they have the proper scanner they can scan those chip credit cards and obtain all of your information, and it would only take them a minute to make a fake card just like yours, with their name on it, and valuable account information," Lt. Denis said.
Lt. Denis believes with a certain device, criminals can access your information from 30 or so feet away. To combat this, he recommends stacking your cards to confuse the signal.
Lt. Denis says there could also be information stealing devices on gas pumps, ATM machines and anywhere else you swipe your card.
"If you pull up to a gas pump and it doesn't look quite right to you, or if you look at the one right in front of you or the one next to it, and there's an obvious little difference there, it could possibly be just that, a little skimming device, that is going to record your information when you swipe your card, and somebody will come by later and retrieve that device and again make credit cards that look just like yours," he added.
Lt. Denis suggests checking your account statements as much as possible.
"Which is also the other important thing, you should check your bill routinely, weekly, or even less than weekly, to keep an eye on your accounts and not allow that situation to happen.
While police can't prevent these things from happening, they can react. Lt. Denis recommends filing a police report as soon as possible and of course canceling your card.
"If there's a way to expose information or to get information, somebody will find it," Lt Denis said.