Wichita Falls police are again warning of the gas pump skimmer scam.

Police say that with summer drawing to a close, activity at local gas stations will rise. More people visiting the gas stations for last minute vacations and road trips, means more opportunities for criminals to strike.

In March of this year, at least one Wichita Falls fuel stop was compromised by a Bluetooth-enabled skimmer, a device used to steal credit card info. The thieves never have to come into physical contact with your card, they merely have to be close enough to capture the data from the skimmer remotely.

While not all skimmers operate this way, all are simply devices added to the pump and connected to the card reader to steal credit and debit card info and defraud the consumer. The Wichita Falls Police Department offers the following advice to help you avoid becoming a victim of these thieves:

  • First look at the overall condition of the gas pump.  Is there anything attached to it that appears out of place?  Is there more than one card reader?  Any visible wires on the outside of the machine? Is there tape holding objects on the pump?
  • If possible, avoid gas pumps that are out of view of the store employee.  These pumps could be more easily compromised with a skimmer since employees will not be able to see activity around the pump.  Use the pumps that are within view of the employee these will probably have a reduced risk of being compromised.
  • Check to see if the pump has a seal placed on the access door.  If this seal is broken or gone, move on to another pump if possible. It could mean that the pump has been compromised.  If the seal is missing or broken notify the employee immediately.
  • If you notice anything attached to the outside of the pump that appears out of place or brand new in appearance compared to the pump itself, it could be a skimmer or camera  to video your PIN. Externally placed skimmers will allow the transaction when placed over the  pump card reader, but will also steal your information at the same time.
  • Some skimmers are blue-tooth capable so the crook will not even have to come and get it!  Others that are externally attached may have to be retrieved by the crook at some point in time.
  • If you see people hanging around gas pumps after business hours or pretending to be maintenance workers, inform the employees or call the police.
  • Finally, check your credit card or gas card statements regularly for any irregularities or unusual charges.

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