Valley consumers warned of credit card skimmers at gas pumps - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Valley consumers warned of credit card skimmers at gas pumps

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LISBON, Ohio -

Valley consumers are being warned about the growing risk of being "skimmed" after filling up at he gas pump.

Authorities say the use of electronic skimmers to steal personal information is spreading across Ohio.

A skimmer is a small electronic device that is placed inside a gas pump, and captures your credit card information when you swipe your card. 

"With the bluetooth technology they don't even have to go back and open the machine again, they can just drive by it and capture the data that they've stolen from your card," said Mahoning county Auditor Ralph Meacham.

It doesn't take long to install the skimmer and thieves will usually target pumps that are furthest away from the attendants view. 

"They only have to take four screws out, then pull that device out and stick the other one in. Within thirty seconds that process is finished and they're on their way," said Terry Madison, Weights & Measures Inspector for Columbiana county.

Columbiana county is taking extra steps to help detect pump tampering.

"We're suggesting to all the gas stations that they put a security seal across the front of (pump) it where it would open," Columbiana county Auditor Nancy Milliken said.

Adding the security seals is a step Marsha Camp already has taken at the Quik Mart & More Sunoco station in Lisbon.

"I feel safe that the pumps are secure for the public as well as it's easier for me to tell if they've been tapered with," Camp said.

To avoid becoming a victim of a skimmer authorities recommend;

  • Use cash
  • Pay inside
  • Use a pump most visible to the attendant
  • Monitor your bank account regularly.

Gas pump skimmers have been found in eight Ohio counties, but none locally so far.  

Authorities say the thieves usually hit areas for a short time and then move on. 

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