LAWTON, OK (RNN Texoma) -Lawton police are warning the public about credit card scams and card skimmers in the area.
Authorities say around the holiday season is when they see an increase of card skimmers. It’s also the most frequent time of year for identity theft and fraud.
Tina Lee of Arvest Bank teaches identity theft and fraud prevention awareness.
She said identity theft is higher than its ever been reporter 16.7 million cases just this year.
“Something as small as if you’re not at home to get your mail when the mailman drops it," she said. "You could be a victim.”
She said that’s an easy way for thieves to get your information.
Sergeant Timothy Jenkins of the Lawton police department says scammers install card skimmers on gas pumps and outdoor ATM machines.
“That way when you go slide your card or go to get money out the machine they are able to get your information off that card," said Jenkins.
He said there’s one simple way to protect yourself.
“Use cash," said Jenkins. "If you don’t have to use your card don’t use your card.”
Along with using cash Lee said its important to keep an eye on your wallet, watch your credit reports and bank statements for alerts.
Both Lee and Jenkins said it’s important to remain aware.
“People are desperate and they are going out to try and figure out who they can scam and get money out," said Jenkins.
“These are things just common everyday people they just don’t realize,” said Lee. "So, it’s a great way to get some awareness out there so people can be a lot more careful.
If you feel you've been a victim of a card skimmer or identity theft you are encouraged to contact your credit card company or financial institution.
Lee also holds meetings on fraud and identity theft awareness. If you’d like to set up a presentation you can contact her directly at 580-250-4567.