Jacksonville, FL-- The Federal Trade Commission is warning about companies adding bogus charges to your credit card account. It's called cramming. It has been a common scam companies have used for years on phone bills. But that is not the only threat to your credit cards.
There is also a practice called skimming. Any time you use your card, even at an ATM, you could become a victim.
Crooks have found a way to create a new card with your number. Detective Herb Pittman of the Clay County Sheriff's Office has investigated such cases.
"They use skimming devices. We found a few in our area, skimming devices that put over ATM machines. Basically the way this works, they put it over the slot of an ATM machine, when you slide your card in, the ATM machine is still working, but the skimming device is collecting the data of your mag strip," he said.
Then, they will use that info and transfer it to another card, maybe a gift card or even a hotel key, as long as it has a strip. They will also get your personal identification number by placing small cameras to spy on you at the ATM or other self-help services like pay at the pump gas.
"Usually up above, it looks like a mirror," Pittman said.
That's why it's so important to continually check your credit card statements. If you can prove the charge isn't yours, credit card companies will refund your money. There is a way to try and proactively protect yourself.
"I'll grab the card holder and shake it and make sure it doesn't come off," Pittman said.
You can also cover your hand as you enter your pin number, so a hidden camera can't see what you are entering. Some credit monitoring service will alert you of out of state charges, so you will know the minute they happen.