The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office alerted recent customers of the the Space Age Travel Center near Hermiston to check their accounts for suspicious activity after the discovery of a fake credit/bank card skimmer. Undersheriff Jim Littlefield said so far no victims have come forward.

Store personnel on Wednesday found the phony card skimmer inside the store, the sheriff’s office reported. The staff do not know how long the fake device was there or if it affected any customers.

The device consisted of a clear screen, scanner and a duplicate keypad attached to a card reader next to a register inside the store.

“It looks authentic,” according to the sheriff’s office. “On the inside of the device are electronic components, including a battery and a device that reads the magnetic strip on a credit/debit.”

And the keypad could capture pin numbers.

Littlefield said there were no other fake card readers at the Space Age, including on the gas pumps, and no others businesses in the county has reported the devices. Thieves in the Tri-Cities used skimmers in February to rip off at least $100,000 from 215 accounts, according to the Tri-City Herald.

The sheriff’s office warned these theft devices are becoming more sophisticated. Customers need to examine devices for signs of tampering or anything that looks out of place before using it, such as a loose card reader device or keypad, cracks, dents or other damage, different colors on the machine, and tape or glue.

The sheriff’s office also advised the use of a credit card with a chip because those are less likely to be skimmed.

For further information on how to spot and avoid card skimmers, the sheriff’s office referred to this article from PC Magazine: http://bit.ly/2JvLBf6

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