• Repairman, owner find “skimming device” attached to gas pump

    A gas pump repair person located two “skimming devices” on gas pumps at the Union 76 service station on Forest Avenue in Pacific Grove. The discovery was reported to the owner of the station who, in turn, reported the find to the police.

    The devices have been removed. The resemble a small circuit board with male and female plugs coming off each end, according to an alert released Dec. 7, 2012.

    Typically, say police, the devices are attached by criminals to gas pumps which are outside of the view of the cashier, making detection more difficult. The skimming devices capture credit or debit card information from customers and transmit it via Bluetooth technology to a device nearby. It may also store the stolen data onsite and criminals will retrieve the device later, harvesting the data (including PINs, using keystroke software) and using the information later to obtain cash or make purchases in other parts of the state or the country.

    Police advise card users at gas stations to pay inside or pay with cash to avoid having data stolen at the pump. They say that, if you must use the card at the pump, you should examine the pump carefully. Does everything look right? Does the scanner look a bit larger than normal? Does it appear to have been tampered with?

    “Be sure that you always monitor your card purchases carefully,” authorities advise. “View your statement carefully looking for anything that’s out of place.” The Federal Trade Commission advises customers whose cards have been compromised to notify the card issuer as quickly as possible, and to notify law enforcement.

    Pacific Grove police warned the public earlier this year about this type of fraudulent activity. They encourage anyone who has been victimized to contact them right away at 831-648-3143.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on December 7, 2012

    Topics: Front PG News, Police Log

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