By Evan Anderson, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Area banks send out a warning for debit and credit card users this holiday season, to be aware of skimmers, especially around area shopping centers.
It's a bogus card reader that thieves can quickly install almost anywhere, and steal your card information.
The skimmers have been around for quite some time. Over the years though, thieves have been able to constantly improve them, and some believe their accounts have been comprised at places like ATM's, gas stations, and even car washes.
"I didn't even notice anything was wrong with the gas pump at all," said Karen Hudson.
It's cleverly disguised technology thieves attach to cash machines in an attempt to intercept your credit or debit card information.
"When I noticed my account was overdrawn, I knew something was wrong, because I'm never overdrawn," said Hudson.
For Hudson, out running errands on a Wednesday afternoon, she never imagined she would instantly be out of about $500 after a trip to a local gas station.
"I know next time, I'm definitely going to pay more attention when I swipe my card," said Hudson.
"It's a small device that can be opened, you can tell, it can wiggle, and it's something that the thief can put in, in a couple of minutes," said Marc Maun, CEO, Bank of Oklahoma.
Maun says the electronic skimmer looks very much like the card reader that's there already, just a little thinner, and most don't think twice before they swipe.
"The best thing you can do is kind of cover up your pin number as you put it in, either with your hand, or with a purse, or with a hat or something, because the number itself is no good without the pin," said Maun.
"I have all of my money back now, so I didn't actually lose anything, but now I have to wait to get a new debit card," said Hudson.
Area banks encourage their customers to check their bank accounts frequently, and report fraudulent, or suspicious charges right away.
Maun also says credit cards rarely get compromised with a skimmer, because you're not required to put in a pin number.