Skimmer found at gas pump

Just days after local police issued a statement advising people to be on the lookout for credit card skimmers at gas pumps, one showed up at a gas station in Seymour.

Police responded to a report of a card skimmer being found Friday morning at the Circle K at Tipton and O’Brien streets.

“A skimmer is an electronic device that is placed between the card reader and the modem system, and it saves all the credit cards that run through the credit card system on the pump,” said Seymour Detective Greg O’Brien.

The discovery of a skimmer in Seymour follows recent reports of the devices being found in both Bartholomew and Scott counties, including two skimmers found in Columbus on Friday morning, too.

Unlike skimmers found in other counties that hooked onto the exterior of the card reader and may have been visible to the customer, the one discovered in Seymour was found inside the pump itself and was wired into the pump’s electronics, police said.

“This required the pump to be opened up and modified,” O’Brien said.

Gas pump panels where keypads and credit card readers are located should be sealed with red tape showing they have not been modified or opened except by maintenance technicians; however, some companies do not use the security tape, O’Brien said.

Companies that have been hit with skimmers in the past, including Circle K, are training their clerks to check the pumps as many as three times a day, O’Brien said. Because of this added precaution, he doesn’t believe the skimmer was there long.

The level of technology used to create the skimmer will determine what information, if any, the installer obtained, O’Brien said.

If the skimmer had Bluetooth or other transmission capabilities, the creator could sit nearby and collect the information as it was being recorded. If the skimmer doesn’t have such capabilities, the installer would have to physically collect the device to obtain the credit information.

The police department urges customers to be vigilant looking for skimmers at pumps.

Skimmers can be added to the card reader’s exterior or interior, so if something doesn’t seem right, such as one pump’s reader looking different than the others, having added parts on the exterior that might not match or if a hatch is unlocked or there are unsecured panels, customers should immediately notify attendants at the station.

“A good safety tip would be just to go inside and prepay with the attendant,” O’Brien said.

The skimmer found Friday has been turned over to the United States Secret Service, as one of the agency’s little known duties is to investigate {span class=”_Tgc”}false identification, credit and debit card fraud and computer fraud. {/span}

{span class=”_Tgc”}O’Brien believes DNA, fingerprint and computer evidence is retrievable from the device.{/span}

{span class=”_Tgc”}Credit/debit card fraud is a Level 5 or Level 6 felony charge in Indiana, punishable by one to six years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines per count according to state law.{/span}

Author photo
Aaron Piper is a photographer and reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at apiper@tribtown.com or 812-523-7057.