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Gas station card ‘skimmers’ not just at pumps

There have been lots of warnings about “skimming” machines on gas pumps that steal credit card information when you choose the option of paying outside.

In fact, Albuquerque police recently arrested one man and said they were looking for others involved in a sophisticated skimming operation that tapped into gas station ATMs around the city.

Now, a reader says he believes he was the victim of a skimming device attached to an air pump that accepted credit card payments for inflating tires. These kind of pumps are often located on the edge of a gas station’s parking area, where there isn’t much traffic and where they’re out of view of an indoor clerk.

Avoid getting ripped off in this way by checking to see if there are signs that the card reader has been disturbed and noticing whether your card sticks a bit in the slot. If you are at all uncertain about the reader’s integrity, pay inside.

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As if there aren’t enough reasons to be concerned about Facebook.

Scammers are now calling people in New Mexico offering to help fix your account so you can avoid sharing data with others, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

To make the fixes, the callers say, they first need your subscriber information and related data.

Don’t fall for this.

The scammers are trying to capitalize on concerns stemming from the revelation that data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica may have used information obtained improperly from 50 million Facebook users.

“Never share your personal information with a stranger, no matter who the caller pretends to be,” Attorney General Hector Balderas said. “If you need your Facebook information fixed, go to Facebook and access your account settings and fix it that way.”

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Job scams have gotten a lot more sophisticated, the Better Business Bureau says.

Reports are coming in about bogus recruiters or business owners who are going a step beyond the usual scam by conducting “job interviews” over Skype or Google Hangouts, which offer online chat rooms.

They reel you in with amazing perks like all remote work, flexible hours and the best-ever pay. Previously, they would “hire” you as soon as you responded, but now they’re adding the face-to-face encounters to add legitimacy and to gain your confidence, the BBB says.

“The interviewer and the questions may seem very professional,” the BBB says.

After that point, the scenario proceeds this way: The scammer sends you a check to cover the costs of your first assignment or the purchase of needed supplies. However, you first must transfer some of the money back to the company or to a representative.

“The check is fake and any money you transfer will be lost for good,” the BBB says.

In some cases, the bogus company rep will ask for money or personal information, supposedly needed to cover training costs or a background check or to set up direct deposit.

The BBB recommends doing the following:

• Be cautious about an advertised job that sounds incredibly wonderful, with lots of benefits and, especially, if it requires no special training.

• Research companies and jobs before agreeing to an interview. Make sure the company is legitimate, and the job is posted on its website.

• Watch out for the overpayment scam. No real job will ever overpay you and then ask you to send funds somewhere else.

Ellen Marks is assistant business editor at the Albuquerque Journal. Contact her at emarks@abqjournal.com or 505-823-3842 if you are aware of what sounds like a scam. To report a scam to law enforcement, contact the New Mexico Consumer Protection Division toll-free at 1-844-255-9210.

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