Nassau police warned the public Tuesday to guard against skimming devices used to steal debit and credit card information at ATMs.
Nationally, the use of such devices is up nearly 150 percent this year, said Det. Jeffrey Marshall of the police crimes against property squad.
"We're just trying to make the public aware so they don't become victims," he said.
The squad locates in Nassau County between 12 and 15 devices annually, according to Det. Sgt. Richard Harasym of the police crimes against property squad. That number has held steady over the past dozen years, he said.
Marshall recommended that people cover the keypad while entering their pin numbers into ATMs and should not say their pin numbers aloud when they use ATMs, as some devices also record audio.
People should check their bank accounts frequently and report irregularities to their bank and the police, he said. and be on the lookout for an ATM that suddenly appears different. Often, skimming devices are attached with glue strips that can be removed with a tug, Harasym said.
Harasym recommended using ATMs at banks rather than at other places because they tend to have more security features.
"I would tell my own relatives that. Try to avoid those secondary ATMs," he said.
Anyone who discovers a skimming device can contact the crimes against property squad at 516-573-5273.
The number of skimming devices discovered by Suffolk police in recent years could not immediately be determined.