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Eastman Credit Union responds to spike in card fraud

Eastman Credit Union

Kingsport police are actively investigating "numerous" cases of credit card fraud, after Eastman Credit Union warned customers of skimming attacks at gas pumps.

ECU became aware of an increase in card fraud at their ATMs Saturday afternoon, and immediately worked to contact impacted customers.

"Our members won't be impacted by this," said ECU Executive Vice President Kelly Price. "They are covered and will have no financial impact as a result of all this."

Mark Trent, a realtor in Kingsport, was in church when he first got the call that his account had been hit for $800 at an ATM.

"I've been hit before," Trent said. "So, I'm careful with the gas pumps, and the Red Box machines, and some of the other places like that, not to use a pin but to run my card as credit."

Trent said ECU quickly fixed the issue and restored the credit to his account.

Some drivers told me they don't even take the risk of paying at the gas pump.

"I've seen it where they take it out twice, then they put it back, then they take a dollar and then they take a hundred," Nolan Neff of Dryden, Virginia said. "I usually pay inside or I stop at the ATM."

Others avoid technology all together.

"Me personally, I don't keep my money in the bank because I don't trust stuff like that," Zach Livingston said. "I do worry about it. That's partially why I don't keep my money in places like that."

Stephan Garcia knows skimmers all too well. When his bank alerted him to large transactions coming from his account, he had a hunch.

"It just led me to believe that it had to be something here at the pump," Garcia said. "Sure enough, a week or two later, they were saying that card skimmers were doing stuff at the gas pumps."

Now, Garcia is really aware of his surroundings, and hopes others can learn from his unfortunate experience.

"Bigger gas stations, for sure. New pumps. New pumps are always a good sign. And just be on the lookout for mysterious people around you, as well," Garcia said.

ECU released these tips for consumers:

1. Ensure contact information including phone number and email are up to date with your financial institution

2. Review your accounts regularly and report any unusual or suspicious activity

3. Utilize card security features that are provided by your financial institution

4. Never share your PIN or password -- ECU will never ask for your full card number, PIN, or password over the phone, email or text.

5. Be on the lookout for suspicious individuals or skimmer devices

6. Avoid using PINs at retail locations unless necessary

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