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How to spot a skimmer before a thief steals your credit card

Never a dull moment in cybercrime. Just this week CrimeStoppers and the Honolulu Police Department issued a public warning to look out for credit card skimmers.

What's a card skimmer? There are machines everywhere that accept credit cards - parking meters, soda machines, ATMs, gas pumps, self-checkout registers and so on. Well criminals have figured out that they can 3D print a plastic cover that goes on top of where you slide in your card, make a copy of your credit card number and go on a shopping spree.

The pictures below are of actual card skimmers released to the public by Crimestoppers. You'll notice they are shockingly well made.

The Takeaway

HPD says that these devices have been recently found at self-checkout registers at supermarkets around Oahu but they can be pretty easy to spot:

1) Check for alignment issues between the card reader and the panel underneath. The thief probably just snapped it on, so it may stick out at a strange angle or cover printed writing below.

2) If if looks suspicious, compare the card reader to those at neighboring terminals. If it looks different, that's a red flag.

3) When in doubt, ask an employee of the establishment. They may be best at being able to spot a card skimmer.

Anyone with information about a skimming incident is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 808-955-8300. You can also send anonymous web tips to or via the P3 Tips app.

Let's do our part to help keep the community protected.

Stay safe out there, -A ChatGPT's joke for today on the topic of card skimming:

Why did the thief bring a card skimmer to the bank?

Because he heard that's where people "charge" for a living, but he couldn't understand why everyone was so "withdrawn" when he asked for their PIN numbers!


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