How to see if a skimming device has been attached to a store's credit card reader

MINNEAPOLIS — If you use self-checkout at grocery stores, you need to be mindful of a scam police recently found in Minnesota. Someone attached a skimming device to a credit card reader at a store in Rochester.

Skimming devices rose in prominence over the past decade on card readers at gas pumps and ATMs. The device at the Rochester self-checkout even caught police off guard.

 / Credit: WCCO
/ Credit: WCCO

"These machines can be on payment devices for quite a while before anyone discovers them," Rochester Police Lt. Ryan Lodermeier said. "Fortunately the retail store did an excellent job of being aware, seeing something that was odd and addressing it and calling us right away."

Luckily, no customers were scammed because the skimmer was quickly spotted.

Police are still searching for the people who attached the skimmers in Rochester.


Skimming devices are illegal attachments that can be placed on self check-outs, gas pumps and ATMs. The devices then collect debit and/or credit card information, which can be recovered later and used to make fraudulent purchases.


The difference can be hard to spot. If you look carefully you should be able to see the reader appears slightly wider in some areas, but that's usually a virtually unrecognizable difference to the average eye.

Skimmers are usually placed on top of the actual card reader, so they may stick out. People are advised to compare the card reader they are using with others nearby.

MORE TIPS ON SPOTTING SKIMMING DEVICESCheck if the card reader is loose, off-center, or if parts on it wiggle.
If you're unsure, head to a register that has a person working at it.Look for a security label or colored tape on the panel at gas pumps, which will indicate if the machine has been tampered with.

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