TYLER — A "skimmer" is an in-expensive device that crooks can install on a gas pump or ATM that will copy credit or debit card information for their own use.
Mechele Mills with the Better Business Bureau in Tyler says you usually you can't even tell it's there.
"They get a copy of your credit card number and they can create a new card with your number on it and make charges to your bank account and to your credit card account," Mills said.
The BBB says one of the best ways to check for skimmers at the gas pump is to make sure that the card reader doesn't jiggle...if it does jiggle there's something there that shouldn't be there.
Mills says skimmers can be used in other places too.
"They sell these devices that are just portable and cashiers can wear them on their belt...and so you give them your credit card to pay for your transaction, they scan it in front of you. And they scan it and you don't even notice that they've scanned it on their skimmer," Mills said.
While legislation here in Texas recently passed a bill cracking down on those who use skimmers, Mills says people should still be on alert -- keep your eye on your cards and regularly check your statements and credit score to make sure their right.
East Texas Christmas shopper Atonya Champion says she's never had her identity stolen, but she'll be staying away from "Black Friday" this year because she's afraid of things like this.
"You know, we're all out here trying to make a easy living and just trying to survive due to the economy, and it is sad! All people have to do nowadays is just ask and there is a lot of help out there...and it's so sad that we're being taken advantage of like that," Champion said.
The BBB also says as your out doing your shopping this year, if you use your debit card, they recommend running it as credit for added protection.