Multiple credit card skimming devices have been found at gas stations in Travis County. The Sheriff's office said the thieves are getting cleverer with their efforts to rip people off at the pump.
They are not releasing the exact locations where they found the skimmers but sheriff's said clerks found two skimmers at their gas station in Wells Branch. Another was found at a station off of Highway 71 in Southwest Travis County. But, now scammers are using a new skimming technique we need to watch out for.
Sgt. Scott Crowe works for the Financial Crimes Unit for the Travis County Sheriff's Office; he said an increase in credit card abuse alerted him to the growing problem. He said they took a proactive approach checking about 60 local gas station pumps and educating clerks. “The gas stations are actually trying to make better efforts of preventing this crime and helping their own clients basically,” he said.
Their efforts are paying off. In April, Sgt. Crowe said four men that are part of the Cuban National Gang were arrested. “They were all captured at a gas station in the Plugerville area purchasing with clone credit cards diesel fuel,” he said.
Some of the skimmers are easier to spot. “Usually it's taped on, it's something that doesn’t fit the normal workings of that ATM machine or gas pump and you can grab and pull. If it comes out then you know there's a problem,” Sgt. Crowe said. But crooks are getting savvy, unlocking face plates of the pump and attaching skimmers inside. “Recently they switched to a Bluetooth, to where all they have to do is drive back up, provide a passcode to the Bluetooth device inside of the gas pump and then download the data and go about their business.”
Sgt. Crowe said the best thing to do is just use cash if you can. You can go into the store to pay with a card, or use a gas station credit card. Last option if you have to pay at the pump, he said use a credit card, not a debit card, because scammers get your pin number and take all the money from your account.
Another thing you can do is turn on your Bluetooth on your phone and scan to see if anything odd shows up.