PASADENA, Texas — Pasadena police are putting out a warning over the recent discovery of several credit card skimmers found at ATMs throughout the city.
Officers said that by using them thieves took about $13,000 from their victims.
Over the course of a month, Pasadena police said four different men installed card skimmers at ATMs across the city.
"Essentially, what happens is, when the individual goes to use their debit or credit card, the information is skimmed or scanned into the device that they installed on an ATM," Jessica Ramirez, with Pasadena police, said. "This could be anywhere, a gas pump, an ATM, at a store."
Both Pasadena police and the Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston said the use of skimmers is on the rise.
"It's something that everyone needs to be aware of, watch out for because it can happen to anyone," Leah Napoliello, with the Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston, said.
And when it comes time to pay, while you have options - swipe, chip, and tap - some might be better than others.
WalletHub said chip cards are more secure than traditional credit cards because they are difficult to clone as they create a unique code for each transaction.
But tapping to pay, PayPal said, can be even safer because your debit or credit card never makes physical contact with the card reader.
With Apple and Google Pay, both companies said your credit card information is never even at risk. A unique code is generated each time, independent of your card.
The BBB said you can find alternate ways to pay.
"If you're paying at the gas station, you could actually go inside and pay that way instead of paying at the pump," Napoliello said.
And instead of an ATM, you can go directly to the bank teller.
But if you are using a card reader, police say to inspect it first.
"Usually it's raised, or if something looks like it's not straight or aligned, it's kind of offset, whether it's the keypad or the actual device where you put your card in," Ramirez said.
If you have any information on who the suspects are, you're asked to call Pasadena police.