TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The Financial Crimes Intelligence Center will be a big step forward in protecting East Texans from criminals looking to steal hard-earned dollars, especially when you’re at the gas station.
Authorities in East Texas have stepped up efforts to end these types of crimes.
“Card skimming has spread across the country and across the state,” said Jacob Putman, a Smith County Criminal District attorney. “These groups that plant card skimmers – they go on a road trip, planting them wherever they go, so it’s not really localized in one area anymore. So it’s very important to have this intelligence center so that we can track where these people are going so that they can be caught. “
In 2018, East Texas was ranked number one for gasoline pump credit card skimming. This led to the need to establish the Financial Crime Intelligence Center located on Elm Street.
“What we do is gather information from a number of sources – other law enforcement agencies. From banks, fuel companies and retailers, we offer actionable intelligence that we can return to law enforcement, ”said Chief Intelligence Coordinator Adam Colby.
From the intelligence center, officials will coordinate investigations of credit card skimmers with law enforcement in Texas and the country.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can monitor to protect your credit card information from theft.
“Shaking the card reader is not the solution. What happens is it’s inside the gas pump. It might be installed inside the card reader and we’re starting to see it, but the card reader is the card reader and wiggling it isn’t going to budge. What people are thinking about is ATM skimming where they will place an overlay on the card reader. That’s not what’s going on here, ”Colby said.
Technology is advancing in gas pumps as well, making it harder for crooks to skim your card.
“The newer the EMV pump is, your smart card – if you have a gas pump that accepts the smart card and the PIN pad is elevated as opposed to the old membrane that is going to be encrypted. chances of not being a victim, ”Colby said.
Officials say that with the new center, more training will be provided to East Texas business owners on identifying and combating fraud. All in order to protect your personal information.
According to the new Financial Crime Intelligence Center, credit card skimming at gas pumps in the region has fallen 84% since 2017. This is due to cooperation between law enforcement in East Texas.