The Texarkana Texas Police Department is investigating incidents of credit card skimmers being found on local fuel pumps and offers tips to keep your information safe.
Seems like every couple of months, a gas station somewhere in Texarkana finds a skimmer on their pumps. It happened again yesterday. As is usually the case, there is no way to know how long it had been attached nor whose credit card information has been compromised.
We’ve all seen a lot of tips about how to recognize that a skimmer may be on credit card reader we are about to use, such as wiggling it to see if the card slot is loose or if it simply looks different. While those might work in some situations, the reality is that there’s really no way of inspecting the outside of the pump and knowing if there is a problem or not. In many of the cases we see, the skimmer is basically a few wires attached to the processing unit inside the pump or ATM and there are absolutely no external indicators that it’s there. These devices, like was found yesterday, typically have a Bluetooth device, a motherboard, and wires to bypass the pumps computer. With the Bluetooth device, the criminal can remotely download the stolen data to a nearby computer.
The obvious question becomes “What can I do to protect myself against skimmers?” You’ve probably figured out that there’s likely not much that you can realistically do on the front end – short of never using your credit or debit card EVER – and that’s simply not an option for most of us. The best defense is to keep a close watch on your account activity. Review them on a regular basis. A great feature that most credit cards and banks now have the ability to almost immediately send you a text or email anytime your card is used. If you notice any suspicious activity on the account, immediately notify your financial institution. If you believe that your account information has been compromised, it’s best to ask them cancel your existing card and issue you a new one. Better safe than sorry.