According to investigators, the suspects placed a small child on the counter to block the cashier from seeing the skimmer.
EXTON, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Police are looking for a trio of suspects who allegedly placed a skimming device on a credit card reader inside a 7-Eleven store in Exton, Pa.
West Whiteland police say officers responded to the 7-Eleven store in the 100 block of N. Pottstown Pike on Tuesday after the device was found at the main cash register.
Skimming devices secretly record bank account data from cards. Thieves can then use that data to steal money from the victim's account.
Police say the device was placed around 8:30 p.m. Monday. According to investigators, the suspects placed a small child on the counter to block the cashier from seeing the skimmer.
"They actually put the child on the counter so the employee could not see," said Detective Scott Pezick, with West Whiteland Township police. "So, the child blocked what they were doing."
The device was on the credit card reader for several hours and may have compromised the data of some customers. The fact that it was found inside the store surprised some customers.
"When you go inside the store, you don't expect that," said Tracy Weatherly, who was getting gas at the store.
Others were angry that the group allegedly used a child to help commit the crime.
"I think that's messed up to use little kids for anything like that," said Stephanie Dowling. "It scares me that they can do something on the inside."
Anyone who can help identify those suspects is asked to call police at 484-874-0358.
Anyone who used a credit card or debit card in that 7-Eleven between 8:30 p.m. Monday and 12 p.m. Tuesday is asked to report any suspicious charges to police.
Investigators say you should keep checking, because the charges may not appear immediately.
The FBI says skimming costs financial institutions and consumers more than $1 billion each year.
Skimmers can be placed at point-of-sale terminals, ATMS and fuel pumps.
The FBI released the following tips to protect yourself from skimming:
ATM and Point of Sale Terminal Skimming
-ATM skimmer devices usually fit over the original card reader.
-Some ATM skimmers are inserted in the card reader, placed in the terminal, or situated along exposed cables.
-Pinhole cameras installed on ATMs record a customer entering their PIN. Pinhole camera placement varies widely.
-In some cases, keypad overlays are used instead of pinhole cameras to records PINs. Keypad overlays record a customer's keystrokes.
-Skimming devices store data to be downloaded or wirelessly transferred later.
Tips When Using an ATM or POS Terminal
-Inspect ATMs, POS terminals, and other card readers before using. Look for anything loose, crooked, damaged, or scratched. Don't use any card reader if you notice anything unusual.
-Pull at the edges of the keypad before entering your PIN. Then, cover the keypad when you enter your PIN to prevent cameras from recording your entry.
-Use ATMs in a well-lit, indoor location, which are less vulnerable targets.
-Be alert for skimming devices in tourist areas, which are popular targets.
-Use debit and credit cards with chip technology. In the U.S., there are fewer devices that steal chip data versus magnetic strip data.
-Avoid using your debit card when you have linked accounts. Use a credit card instead.
-Contact your financial institution if the ATM doesn't return your card after you end or cancel a transaction.
Fuel Pump Skimming
-Fuel pump skimmers are usually attached in the internal wiring of the machine and aren't visible to the customer.
-The skimming devices store data to be downloaded or wirelessly transferred later.
Tips When Using a Fuel Pump
-Choose a fuel pump that is closer to the store and in direct view of the attendant. These pumps are less likely to be targets for skimmers.
-Run your debit card as a credit card. If that's not an option, cover the keypad when you enter your PIN.
-Consider paying inside with the attendant, not outside at the pump.