A credit card scam involving lifting people’s personal account information to make fraudulent purchases is under investigation in Beaumont, where police Wednesday warned the public to be extra careful about where and how they buy goods.

“We would like to remind our residents to be mindful of this type of crime,” according to a police department statement. “The devices are electronic and can either scan cards as they are entered into terminals, or some also have tiny cameras that are able to pick up information off of a card as it is entered.”

The scam, known as “skimming,” has been around for several decades and typically involves perpetrators attaching recording devices directly to terminals, without the knowledge of store operators or banks, and retrieving credit card information at a later time, or obtaining it in real time.

According to Beaumont police, the fraud being perpetrated in the city has entailed conspirators using Bluetooth-enabled spyware to instantly gather credit and debit card details. The data is then used by the crooks to make purchases by illegally accessing victims’ credit lines.

Banks customarily reimburse victims for illicit charges, but the financial institutions have to absorb the losses, investigators said.

They advised residents to use a few common-sense steps to lessen their chances of being victimized, including:

— scrutinizing ATM and credit card terminals to identify any indications of illegally attached devices, and then immediately notifying authorities;

— using indoor payment devices, where clerks are present, rather than outdoor kiosks; and

— consistently checking bank transactions to ensure all purchases are legitimate.

Anyone with information about skimming fraud was asked to contact the police department at 951-769-8500.

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