News release from Inyo County Sheriff’s Department
On February 20th shortly after 8:00am, Inyo County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the Coso Junction Chevron to investigate possible credit readers/skimmers.
The gas station clerk unlocked the pumps and five of the eight pumps were outfitted with mini memory cards attached to possible Bluetooth devices that enable remote access to credit card information.
When using your credit/debit cards at a gas pump look for the safety seal installed at each pump. If you do not see a seal on the pump you may want complete the transaction inside the store, pay with cash, or go to a different gas station.
If you suspect a pump has been tampered with please call the Sheriff’s Office to investigate.
Here are some common ways to help detect a skimmer (tips provided by creditcard.com)
1 – Look before you insert your card. Does anything look different than what you’re used to seeing? The keyboard might look different, or the keys could look bigger.
2 – Is the seal broken? To place a skimmer inside a fuel pump, criminals must open the fuel dispenser door to insert the skimmer. Station employees may place serial-numbered security tape across the dispenser door, so check to see if the tape has been broken. If there’s no tape, check to see if the dispenser door looks as though it has been forced open. Look inside the throat of the card reader to see if you can spot anything hidden there.
3 – Use your fingers. If something doesn’t feel right, move on. Wiggle the ATM card reader to see if it’s loose. Is there a card reader on top of the existing one? Be wary if it’s hard to insert your card.
4 – Phone apps can alert you to skimmers. They scan for available Bluetooth connections. Thieves have begun to use Bluetooth technology to get your card information. The crime is called blue skimming, and the criminals can sit 100 yards away in their vehicle while card information is transmitted to their laptop.
5 – Use common sense. Use fuel pumps in safe places. Avoid gas pumps that are out of sight of the clerk. Always cover the keyboard when you type. If using a debit card at the pump, choose to run it as a credit card instead of entering a PIN number. There might be a new cardboard box containing literature next to the ATM, which crooks set up to conceal a pinhole camera. They use the camera to record you as you key in your PIN.
6 – Monitor bank and credit card accounts regularly to spot any unauthorized charges.
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