STURBRIDGE, Mass. (WWLP) – Police are reminding drivers to check skimming devices at gas pumps after several were found at a truck stop in Sturbridge, Mass.
According to the police department, officers were summoned to a pilot travel center on Friday for a report of skimming devices found on diesel pumps. Three skimming devices were found on three different pumps at the truck stop.
The discovery came after three other skimming devices were found in the same location earlier in the week.
Thieves can install skimming devices anywhere you can use the magnetic stripe of a credit or debit card. A skimmer collects credit card information when a card is swiped. Then a printer will clone the credit card so it can be used to make fraudulent charges and steal a victim’s account.
Previously, you could just use your finger to search for a skimmer in the area where you swiped your card, but now thieves are getting more advanced and hiding skimmer inside gas pumps.
To avoid being a victim, the police advise you to check that the card reader has not been tampered with and to check the keyboard before inserting your card. Also note that if the numbers are hard to press, the machine may have been tampered with.
Police say if you see a device like the one pictured on a gas pump, don’t use it and contact store management.
The Department of Consumer Affairs has advice on how to protect your banking information when pumping gas:
• Use the pumps closest to the attendant and consider lighting conditions. The darkest and furthest pump from the attendant is a thief’s ideal target.
• Pay inside and use cash if possible. Credit and debit cards account for more than half of all gasoline purchases in the United States, making it too easy for thieves to acquire your information.
• Check the condition of the pumps and pay attention to detail. Sometimes there are slight anomalies that you can detect. If it looks suspicious or if you spot signs of a break-in, notify an attendant immediately and make sure the police are called.
• Look around you. Some thieves use Blue Tooth technology which requires them to be a certain distance from the pump. If a person or car seems to be lingering too long, notify an attendant.
• Monitor your bank account daily and check your credit card statements. Notify your bank or card issuer if anything seems unusual or if you spot a fraudulent charge.
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