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Grant targets personal information theft

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The Alamo Area Council of Governments has delivered more than 70 credit card skimmer devices to 65 law enforcement jurisdictions in the Alamo region to train law enforcement personnel and the public about how they help criminals steal money using personal information from an individual’s credit card and to reduce the impact of the crimes in our area, a news release from the council said.

Credit card skimmers, typically implanted on fuel pumps and ATMs, are used to illegally “skim” the numbers embedded in the magnetic strip of debit and credit cards when they are inserted in the terminal, the release said.

With the information, a thief can duplicate the credit card and use the duplicated card to make purchases and add unwanted charges to those accounts.

Officials said the use of credit card skimmers has increased significantly since 2017 in Texas, including the Alamo region, which includes Bandera County. “We’re seeing these skimmers appear more frequently across our 13-county region, and it’s imperative we continue raising the awareness of our vulnerability when using stand-alone payment terminals,” said AACOG Academy Program Manager David Campos. “This is a crime that can be prevented with proper training, and we hope to save our residents from a lot of heartache through these initiatives.”

Funding for the devices was made possible through a $200,000 grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture.

The AACOG Law Enforcement Academy offers two-hour training courses for both law enforcement and the general public through a virtual meeting platform available on the academy’s website and will offer in-classroom trainings once social distancing restrictions subside.

To register for a training session, visit www.aacog.com/131 or contact the law enforcement academy at 210-362-5291.