ID Theft 'Skim Devices' Discovered on Gas Pumps in San Bernardino County

'It is unknown how long these devices have been in place or how many consumers have been victimized,' a sheriff's spokeswoman said this week.

Gas pump skimmers have figured out how to steal customer credit/debit card information in San Bernardino County and sheriff's detectives are trying to catch the local culprits.

Skimmer devices on gas pumps have been found recently at a gas station in the city of Rancho Cucamonga, sheriff's personnel said in a statement.

"The device is placed inside the pump and hooked up to work in conjunction with the card reader attached to the pump," Detectives K. Green and B. Stringer said in the statement.

"The customer is unaware their card information is being copied to the skimmer to be downloaded at a later date," detectives said. "Once the data is downloaded the thieves can create fake credit/debit cards using the data collected from the skimmer."

Victims may not be aware of theft of their card information for weeks or months, detectives said. Customers can protect themselves by using keypads with individual buttons for each number, usually found on newer gas station pumps.

Detectives advised that customers "avoid using card swiping machines that either look or feel loose to the touch or appear to have been affixed with glue or taped to the machine."

Customers should be wary of suspicious activity in and around gas pumps and report concerns to gas station managers, detectives advised.

Customers can further protect themselves by using cards with low dollar limits, use a prepaid gas card, or cash, detectives said. They should also monitor their statements monthly to check for unauthorized purchases.

"It is unknown how long these devices have been in place or how many consumers have been victimized," sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said this week.

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H. D. Schmidt December 08, 2012 at 12:42 AM
What are the station managers doing to avoid this, may I ask? Could one see this with a small flashlight before inserting the card?
John F. Berry December 08, 2012 at 06:59 AM
Great story -- another tip: Pay cash or avoid the machines furthest away from the clerk's view.
nadine December 08, 2012 at 08:25 AM
I've had this happen to me. My bank caught it both times right away and notified me. The gas station was in San Bernardino for sure. This was about a year ago.
Christopher Duke December 08, 2012 at 04:26 PM


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