Photos show skimming devices hidden in gas pumps


STURBRIDGE, Mass. (WWLP) – Police are reminding drivers to check for skimming devices at gas pumps after several were found at a truck stop in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

According to the police department, officers were called Friday to a Pilot Travel Center for a report of skimming devices found on the diesel pumps. Three skimming devices were found on three different pumps at the truck stop.

The discovery came after another three skimming devices were found at the same location earlier in the week.

Thieves can install skimming devices anywhere you may use the magnetic strip of a credit or debit card. A skimmer collects credit card information when a card is swiped. Then, a printer will clone the credit card so it can be used to make fraudulent charges and steal from a victim’s account.

You used to just be able to just use your finger to feel around for a skimmer in the area where you swipe your card, but now thieves are getting more advanced and hiding skimmers inside of gas pumps.

To avoid being a victim, police advise you check the card reader has not been tampered with and check the keypad before inserting your card. Also note that if the numbers are hard to press, the machine may have been tampered with.

Police say if you see a device like the one pictured on a gas pump, do not use it, and contact store management.

The Department of Consumer Affairs gives tips on how to protect your banking information when you pump gas:

• Use pumps closest to the attendant and be aware of lighting conditions. The darkest lit and furthest pump from the attendant is a thief’s ideal target.

• Pay inside and use cash when possible. Credit and debit cards account for more than half of all U.S. gasoline purchases, making it all too easy for thieves to acquire your information.

• Check the condition of the pumps and pay attention to details. Sometimes there are slight abnormalities that you may detect. If it looks suspicious or if you spot any sign of tampering, immediately notify an attendant and make sure the police are called.

• Look around. Some thieves use Blue Tooth technology which requires them to be within a certain distance of the pump. If a person or car seems to be lingering for too long, notify an attendant.

• Monitor your bank account daily and check your credit card statements. Notify your bank or card issuer if anything looks unusual or if you spot fraudulent charges.

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