​​​​​​​Ormond Beach Police join forces with ‘skim reaper’ to bust scammers


The Ormond Beach Police Department is the latest agency to crack down on increasing fraud.

"Major increase, it’s one of our more dominant crimes now," said Sgt. Tom Larsen.

Larsen was at a fraud conference when the developers of the "skim reaper" pitched the idea. Sgt. Larsen got onboard -- adding the tool to the department.

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"What the reaper is doing is sensing how many times it’s being read when it actually goes into the machine," he explained.

The device is able to detect if a card is read twice – once by the actual reader and then by possible scammers.

If the light turns blue, there is no skimmer. If it turns red, authorities will check for possible skimmers.

Patrick Traynor is one of the inventors, a professor at the University of Florida. He was inspired after falling victim himself.

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"My credit card was stolen six times in three years, and I’m an information security professional if I couldn’t keep myself safe who could," he said.

OBPD is one of the few agencies in the state to use the device. Traynor said it’s now being used in 21 states by agencies, retailers, and financial institutions since being put on the market two years ago.

OBPD ran an operation Thursday and plans to increase use.

"Bike Week, Speed weeks, holidays any type of event where there’s a high concentration of people in town," said Sgt. Larsen.

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