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Washington County Sheriff Brent Miller warned residents to make sure they don’t get “skimmed” by a card reading skimmer at area gas stations.

The Sheriff’s Department received a call Tuesday from a local bank noting that several customers had received withdrawals from their accounts due to a possible skimmer at an area gas station. 

Miller wouldn’t release the name of the bank or the local gas station but said Chief Deputy Brad Shepherd and Deputy Abby Powers went to investigate and found a skimmer in action.

Customers insert or slide their credit card in a “skimmer” rather than the read card input slot and thieves can obtain their banking information.

Miller said this skimmer was actually inside the pump. It has since been removed. 

“Some of are put on inside the pump,” Miller said. “You can’t detect that. Some of the skimmers you can detect.”
 
Sheriff Miller is referring to those skimmer units that are placed over the top of the regular card reader at an ATM or gas pump.
 
The unsuspecting customer slides or inserts their card and information is saved in the skimmer.
 
A few days later someone retrieves the device with customers’ card information stored inside and then use that to access bank accounts.

According to the National Association for Convenience Stores:

  • 37 million Americans refuel every day.
  • Of them, 29 million pay for fuel with a credit or debit card.
  • When skimming occurs at a gas station, it usually takes place at only one pump.
  • A single compromised pump can capture data from 30 to 100 cards per day.
“We tell people you should pull on the card reader and if it comes out, then don’t use it,” Miller explained. “Sometimes they put it inside the gas pumps. there’s no way to tell unless you’re a victim.”
 
Miller said he always checks when he goes to the pump. 
 
“I always check the pump. I grab the card reader and see if it will move or come out,” he told WSLM on Wednesday. “If it does, then don’t use that pump. They should be permanently there and shouldn’t come out. Some of the skimmers go over the card reader.”
 
Miller said location is also important.
 
“We tell people, too, that these skimmers are put on the end gas pumps – farthest from the teller. It’s harder for them to access the pumps when they are right in front of the teller. Try to use one in front of the cashier or by the cashier. It only takes a short period of time to put one on and then leave.”
 
“We haven’t found one in awhile,” Miller said. “Typically they’re found on gas stations around interstates because of the volume. We don’t find them as often. If it’s internal, you’re not going to find it until a bank begins to find customers getting frauded. There’s no way to know until you’re the victim. The afest way is to go inside and pay cash. It’s an inconvenience but it keeps you from getting scammed.”