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FBI and state police share tips for protecting yourself from skimmers and scammers

Here's how to protect yourself against scammers, according to Pennsylvania State Police
Here's how to protect yourself against scammers, according to Pennsylvania State Police 01:55

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Pennsylvania is one of the top states in the country for scam complaints and money lost to them, according to the FBI and state police. They want people to be alerted of scams impacting the Pittsburgh region.

Phones are becoming a more common way to pay, and according to state police, it may be a safer way than the card in your wallet. Skimmers are easily installed by scammers and can steal your money through swipes and chips. Technology has not found a way to steal your money through paying on your phone.

"They can download with blank cards, all of the information on these battery chips back here. They can be swiping blank cards across the street and download all your information," Pennsylvania State Trooper Rocco Gagliardi said.

Authorities still want you to be on the lookout for skimmers. A bulky device, exposed wires or a loosely attached device may be warning signs.

"Always do yourself just a second of a check before you put your card in. You'll be surprised at how easy this is going to come off," Gagliardi said.

The state police and FBI say Pennsylvanians lost more than $360 million last year to scams. It's people of all ages impacted. While most victims are over 60, people as young as their teens have been victimized. Those scams will start with social media and then move to payment apps.

"They're going to start asking for a payment platform or, 'how I can give you money?'" Trooper Gagliardi said.

Of course, there are still gift card scams and phone scams. Those are getting more intricate as numbers and IDs will show up as credible businesses sometimes.

If you ever have questions about a need to send money, always call back another number and speak with a business or bank about the situation to see if its real.

If you are part of a business, organization or group, contact Trooper Gagliardi at to have a class on scam prevention.

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