LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Many of us use credit cards every day. Criminals have now learned how to charge your cards without them ever leaving your site.
It's a lesson many consumers are learning the hard way.
Thieves used this device to steal or invade Olivia Flowers’ credit card information, open new bank accounts and then go on a buying spree.
"It was very disturbing, because you feel invaded,” she said.
"The devices now are really small, they can be held in your hand, and it can be done quite easily,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Paul Krenn.
Flowers went shopping for a new car and got her first hints that someone skimmed her credit card. Thieves destroyed her credit.
"He told me that my credit score was really low. And he told me … he actually gave me the printout,” Flowers said.
Postal inspectors are warning credit and debit card skimming is on the rise, especially in fast food restaurants and gas stations -- and it’s profitable. In a bust in Puerto Rico, postal inspectors seized weapons and big ticket items.
"There were $90,000 worth of postal money orders which were purchased using the fraudulent debit cards," Flowers said.
Credit card companies know that skimmers are targeting their customers, but it's not always easy to reclaim your good name.
How to protect yourself: always check your receipts after each purchase you make; be sure to check your credit statement at the end of each billing cycle; and if you notice unusual charges on your credit cards, notify your credit card company immediately.