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Worried About Credit Card Skimming Devices? This App Can Detect Them

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Scammers don’t need to physically steal your credit or debit card to rip you off. Small devices implanted in card readers, known as skimmers, can put your card information in the hands of nefarious actors without you even noticing. But while the devices can be hard to spot, there’s a new way to protect yourself against them. An app called Skimmer Scanner can help identify if there’s a skimmer nearby, as the credit card blog The Points Guy reports.

Credit card skimmers are especially prevalent at gas pumps, many of which haven’t been updated with more secure chip technology. Skimmer Scanner is designed to be used before you fuel up, allowing you to see if you’re going to be paying for more than just the price of gas.

Two screenshots from Skimmer Scanner read 'Scanning' and 'No skimmer found.'
Skimmer Scanner

You just open the app before you stick your card in, and hold your phone near the pump. Skimmer Scanner uses Bluetooth technology to detect whether a skimmer device is working within the pump’s card reader. If you get a positive hit, you should alert the attendant and local authorities, and fuel up elsewhere.

The app does come with some caveats, though. According to the developers, “Using this app may authenticate your Android device to illegally installed skimmers. Please check your local laws before installing this product.” And just because there’s no skimmer detected doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to be safe using that machine. “There's always a risk to sticking your card in a strange machine,” they note.

The app is available for Android on Google Play. According to The Points Guy, the company is currently working on an iPhone version.

[h/t The Points Guy]

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TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images
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This Just In
What Do You Get the Person Who Has Everything? Perhaps a German Village for Less Than $150,000
TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images
TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images

Looking for a gift for the world traveler who has everything? If cost isn't an issue and they're longing for a quiet country home, Fortune reports that an entire village in East Germany is up for sale. The tiny hamlet of Alwine, in Germany's Brandenburg region, is going up for auction on Saturday, December 9. Opening bids begin at $147,230.

Alwine has around one dozen buildings and 20 full-time residents, most of them elderly. It was once owned by a neighboring coal plant, which shut down in 1991, soon after East Germany reunited with West Germany. Many residents left after that. Between 1990 and 2015, the regional population fell by 15 percent, according to The Local.


TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images

In 2000, a private investor purchased the decaying hamlet for just one Deutsche Mark (the currency used before the euro). But its decline continued, and now it's up for grabs once more—this time around, for a much-higher price.

Andreas Claus, the mayor of the district surrounding Alwine, wasn't informed of the village's sale until he heard about it in the news, according to The Local. While no local residents plan to purchase their hometown, Claus says he's open to fostering dialogue with the buyer, with hopes of eventually revitalizing the local community.

[h/t Fortune]

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Guillaume Souvant, Getty Images
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This Just In
For $61, You Can Become a Co-Owner of This 13th-Century French Castle
Guillaume Souvant, Getty Images
Guillaume Souvant, Getty Images

A cultural heritage restoration site recently invited people to buy a French castle for as little as $61. The only catch? You'll be co-owning it with thousands of other donors. Now thousands of shareholders are responsible for the fate of the Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers in western France, and there's still room for more people to participate.

According to Mashable, the dilapidated structure has a rich history. Since its construction in the 13th century, the castle has been invaded by foreign forces, looted, renovated, and devastated by a fire. Friends of Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers, a small foundation formed in 2016 in an effort to conserve the overgrown property, want to see the castle restored to its former glory.

Thanks to a crowdfunding collaboration with the cultural heritage restoration platform Dartagnans, the group is closer than ever to realizing its mission. More than 9000 web users have contributed €51 ($61) or more to the campaign to “adopt” Mothe-Chandeniers. Now that the original €500,000 goal has been fulfilled, the property’s new owners are responsible for deciding what to do with their purchase.

“We intend to create a dedicated platform that will allow each owner to monitor the progress of works, events, project proposals and build a real collaborative and participatory project,” the campaign page reads. “To make an abandoned ruin a collective work is the best way to protect it over time.”

Even though the initial goal has been met, Dartagnans will continue accepting funds for the project through December 25. Money collected between now and then will be used to pay for various fees related to the purchase of the site, and new donors will be added to the growing list of owners.

The shareholders will be among the first to see the cleared-out site during an initial visit next spring. The rest of the public will have to wait until it’s fully restored to see the final product.

[h/t Mashable]

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