Every day it seems there are more and more scams cropping up in Montana. We continue to try to warn you about reports of scams and scammers. One scam that has been making the rounds in Montana has been the theft of checks from mailboxes, they are then "washed" and used to steal your money. It has gotten to the point where officials are warning people to no longer send checks in the mail anywhere, not just in Montana.

Related: Check Washing? Montana Warned to Stop Sending Checks in the Mail

Be Aware of Skimmers in Montana

Another scam that has been reported in Montana over the past couple of years has been people finding "skimmers" on credit card scanners. According to the Associated Press in 2019 the FBI was involved with an investigation about skimmers that had connections to Montana.  In  2021 NBC Montana reported on a "skimmer" being found at a gas station in Bigfork, Montana. A "skimmer" can collect a persons banking information, including pin numbers, and can be used without the victim knowing. I have had my information compromised in the past from a skimmer located at a gas station in Washington State. Skimmers aren't always found at gas stations, they can be found inside stores too. There have been reports of skimmers found in Walmart according to WNEP in Pennsylvania.

One Montana Gas Station Chain Checks for Skimmers

I was filling up my vehicle with fuel at a Cenex station this last weekend and noticed the security sticker on their card scanner. It looks like Cenex stations in Montana are inspecting their scanners to make sure that no one has put a "skimmer" on their machines. That made me feel a bit more comfortable purchasing my fuel from there. Speaking of fuel. If you haven't noticed, the price of fuel in Montana is back on the rise.

Related: Montana Gas Prices are on the Rise, More Increases Expected

Tips to Avoid Skimmers

If you have doubts about a machine that may have a "skimmer" attached, here are some tips on how to spot and avoid "skimmers" from Capital One Credit Cards.

  • Look at the machine- Inspect the card reader, if any of it looks like it doesn't align properly or is bulging, there could be a skimmer attached.
  • Inspect the card reader- Feel around, if it feels loose at all, or isn't secured, then there could be a skimmer attached.
  • Look for a camera- Look for a hole by the number pad. If it looks like there is a camera that could be pointed at the keypad to record you entering your pin, there may be a skimmer.
  • Check the security seal- If the seal or sticker looks like it has been tampered with, there could be a skimmer attached.
  • Check the other pumps- If you are at a gas pump, check the other pumps to see if the scanners look different than the pump you are going to use.
  • Use a High Traffic Area card scanner- The more high traffic the area, the less likely there will be a skimmer attached. If you have doubts, you can pay with the cashier in the store.

Not every business is up to the task of catching all the scammers who use skimmers, but it looks like there are some businesses in Montana that are at least making an effort to try to keep us safe.

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Gallery Credit: Stacker

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