Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives issued a warning to customers

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By Michelle Hunter

mhunter@nola.com

NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Policeman with police cruiser

Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives issued a warning to  customers Thursday (Aug. 23) after investigators discovered an illegal credit card-skimming device inside a Terrytown store this week. 

Unlike previously seized skimmers found on ATMs or gas pumps, this skimmer was fitted over the point-of-sale card reader used by the store’s employees when a customer provides a credit or debit card, according to Lt. Jason Rivarde, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office. 

“This type of skimmer… captures the card number and PIN code as the transaction is being completed,” he said. 

The sheriff’s office did not name the store where the skimmer was found.

The skimmer was placed over the top of the store’s legitimate card reader, making it difficult to notice. Thieves use the information stolen by a skimmer to create counterfeit credit cards, authorities said. They then either sell the cards or use them to make purchases.

The Sheriff’s Office asked customers of businesses to check card readers before using them to make sure no illegal devices have been added. 

“The easiest method would be to pull on the top of the machine to see if it comes apart,” Rivarde said. 

Credit card companies are required to use chip technology, a security feature designed to protect consumers from fraud activity. But some merchants don’t use the technology because of costs or the belief that it slows the speed of a transaction, Rivarde said.

Customers who find a skimmer are asked to immediately call 911 to report the device. 

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Anyone with information about the placement or location of one of these devices is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Section at 504.364.5300. The public can also call Crimestoppers at 504.822.1111 or toll-free at 877.903.7867. Callers or texters do not have to give their names or testify and can earn a $2,500 reward for information that leads to an indictment.