Holiday scams target your wallet

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Police say the biggest problem they deal with this time of year is credit card fraud, and the problem is getting worse.

The Fraud Investigation Department at the Knoxville Police Department is busy this time of year answering phone calls from people who say they've been ripped off. Police say people need to be extra careful and pay close attention to where they are swiping their cards.

"It's a vicious cycle, especially this time of year," said Richard Giammarino, an Investigator with Knoxville Police.

Giammarino says the issue they're facing right now is skimmers that are so small people may never see the device attached to ATM's Pay at the Pump, or other business swiping points.

He says there's a big problem of people in restaurants writing down card numbers and selling them to others.

"They'll record that number on pieces of paper and use that number of the internet or a merchant that allows them to manually or key in that number," said Giammarino.

He suggests never giving a waiter or waitress your card. He says that's just like handing them your bank account.

Fraud investigators with ORNL Federal Credit Union say it's a problem they see every day. They suggest using a credit card, not your bank card when making purchases and watching your statements closely for transactions you didn't make.

With online purchases on the rise, that's a key factor, you have to be aware what's showing up on a credit card statement," said Zain Hashmi, Special Loans Manager with ORNL Federal Credit Union.

Police say you can never been too careful, and always look for sales online that seem too good to be true.