Marion County Sheriff Rob Craft said a credit card skimmer was discovered in Florence at a “pay at the pump” gas pump in early June, but since then no others have been found.
“The skimmer was placed inside a gas pump and it connects between the card reader and the rest of the electronics in the pump.”
The skimmer collects and stores credit card information until it is downloaded by the installer (thief), Craft said.
“Some are installed over the outside card reader where the card is inserted, and those can be more easily discovered,” he said.
Craft said one way to know if there’s a skimmer is if the card slot has anything covering it that might be slightly loose or could be pulled off.
“The ones on the inside are more difficult to detect since there is no visible part,” he said.
The skimmer thief will usually download the card information, then quickly make a new card with the information.
“It can then be used to get cash or goods before your card issuer notices anything unusual,” Craft said.
“Your statement would show the original gas charge that you purchased and then some additional charges at another store, such as Wal-Mart or somewhere else.”
Most of the additional charges from the Florence cards have been in the Kansas City area or on the route to there, he added.
“The charges would show up on the cardholders statement, and the local banks have been good at spotting questionable charges and getting the cardholder notified and card voided,” Craft said.
“The card losses in Florence were first noticed as suspicious by the local bank and cardholders,” he said.
At that point, law enforcement was notified.
“All suspicious transactions were preceded by a recent gas purchase at the same pump, leading to the suspicion of a skimmer on that pump,” he said.
When using any credit card reader at an ATM, checkout or gas pump, Craft suggested people look closely at the card slot and ensure there is nothing added over the original slot.
“If you discover anything attached, do not insert your card and notify law enforcement immediately,” he said.
Everyone should check their account closely and regularly for any fraudulent charges to it, Craft cautioned, and if there are, notify the card issuer.
For more information, call the sheriff’s department at 620-382-2144 or local police departments.