CHANDLER, Ariz. — A new warning for all of us who use debit cards to get quick cash on any given day. Chandler Police say thieves are using a newer device called a "shimmer" to steal your financial information.
You've probably heard of a "skimmer," a device thieves put over a card reader like ones at gas pumps or ATMs. Those can steal the magnetic strip of a card, making it possible for thieves to clone the card.
A shimmer is a smaller version of the skimmer, a strip of flexible plastic slipped inside a credit card reader,.that can steal both magnetic strip and chip data from credit and debit cards.
The use of shimmers continues to surface and it's affecting civilians like William Neal.
"It irritates me, that people work hard for their money and there's others taking the easy way out, stealing from people," Neal said.
Neal told 12 News he popped into a convenience store last week in Chandler to grab cash, not knowing his debit card data would be hacked just hours later.
"They stole my data, including my pin number and use it at an ATM to withdraw money from my account and my card is still physically in my possession so they were just able to take the information somehow and withdraw money," he added.
He posted images of the potential suspects on a Facebook page hoping his neighbors could dodge any fraud attempts, even though he got taken for $280 plus the $3 ATM fee.
"They would use a card, pull a balance inquiry to see how much money was in that account and then they would use that card again, use a pin and pull money out, pocket the cash or put it in a purse, depending on which one was doing it and then they'd move to the next card," he said.
Chandler P.D. took the fraud report and told 12 News this financial crime is common with roughly a dozen are reported daily. Officers say criminals use a shimmer for cards with chips, the data is transferable and accessible.
Neal cautions everyone who uses plastic in one way or another to be vigilant.
"I'm strictly going to use a credit card and I'll pay it off weekly, then I only have to deal with that one transaction, credit cards, you know, they're going to get your information one way or the other but at least they won't have access to my physical liquid cash," Neal added.
He recommends using the text alert through your bank, it's how he was able to report it quickly in hopes of being reimbursed but understands, there's no guarantees.
"All I can say is, I hope they get caught. I know that Chandler P.D. seemed very interested and I know they're going to be active under the situation," he said.
Neal encourages everyone who's a victim of this type of fraud, to report it to police, in hopes they have evidence to end theft and keep your cash in your pocket.