Financial crime intelligence center opens in downtown Tyler to tackle credit fraud
TYLER, Texas (KETK) — The Financial Crimes Intelligence Center will be a big step forward in protecting East Texans from criminals looking to steal hard-earned dollars, especially when you’re at the gas pump.
Authorities in East Texas have stepped up efforts to stop these types of crimes.
“The card skimming has spread across the country and across the state,” Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman said. “These groups planting map skimmers – they go on trips planting them everywhere they go, so it’s not really localized to one area anymore. So it’s really important to have this intelligence center so that we can know where these people are going so they can be caught.
In 2018, East Texas was ranked number one in credit card skimming at gas pumps. This led to the need for the Financial Crime Intelligence Center located on Elm Street.
“What we do is gather intelligence from multiple sources – other law enforcement agencies. From banks, oil companies and retailers, we offer actionable intelligence that we can send back to law enforcement,” Chief Intelligence Coordinator Adam Colby said.
From the intelligence center, officials will coordinate investigations of credit card skimmers with law enforcement in Texas and nationwide.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can pay attention to to protect your credit card information from theft.
“Shaking the card reader is not the solution. What happens is that it’s inside the gas pump. It can be installed inside the card reader and we are starting to see it, but the card reader is the card reader and wiggling it is not going to move. What people are thinking about is ATM skimming where they will put an overlay on the card reader. That’s not what’s happening here,” Colby said.
Technology is also advancing in gas pumps, making it harder for scammers to scour your map.
“The newer the EMV pump, the more your chip card is present, if you have a gas pump that accepts the chip card and the pinpad is raised, unlike the old membrane which is going to be encrypted. It gives you the best chance of not being a victim,” Colby said.
Officials say that with this new center, there will be more training offered to East Texas business owners on identification and fraud prevention. All in order to protect your personal information.
According to the new Financial Crime Intelligence Center, credit card skimming at gas pumps in the area has decreased by 84% since 2017. This is attributed to cooperation between law enforcement in East Texas. .