High-Tech Scam Skims Cash From Gas Station Card Readers

High-tech thieves are skimming debit and credit card numbers using a small device planted inside credit card devices on gas pumps.

By Janet Kwak and Frava Burgess
|  Thursday, Mar 15, 2012  |  Updated 5:48 AM PDT
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High-Tech Thieves Scamming Gas Pumps

High-tech thieves are skimming debit and credit card numbers using a small device planted inside credit card devices on gas pumps. Most victims don't even know they've been robbed until they open their bills. Janet Kwak reports.

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High-tech thieves are skimming debit and credit card numbers using a small device planted inside credit card devices on gas pumps.

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The Torrance Police Department is seeing an uptick in the crime, but it is happening across the Southland.

"They’re actually coming back to get the device that they’ve put in the machine prior to," said Sgt. Steven Jenkinson with Torrance police. "There have been incidences where ... they’re using wireless capabilities or Bluetooth to obtain information."

It’s a sneaky rip-off. Most victims don’t even know they’ve been robbed until they open their bills.

Just this month, Torrance police arrested three suspects for skimming cards at the pump. About 130 credit cards were obtained, and police suspect more victims are out there.

"I traveled to China and came back and I had $18,000 worth of fraud," said identity theft victim Michael Frazier.

The scam is even forcing gas stations to put seals on their pumps. If the seal is broken, chances are the pump has been tampered with.

The best ways to avoid falling victim to a skimming scam are: paying inside; paying with cash; checking your bank account often; and checking seals on the pump.

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