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Beware at the pumps

This card skimmer was removed from a gas pump at a Corinth gas station in November.

By Jebb Johnston jjohnston@dailycorinthian.com

Several local individuals have reported debit or credit card fraud following the recent discovery of a newer type of card skimmer at a Corinth gas station.

Skimmers were discovered inside two gas pumps during routine examination of the pumps by a technician in November, said Corinth Police Department Capt. Dell Green. The police department took possession of the two skimmers, which are more sophisticated devices than they were in the past.

The gas station that was affected routinely checks for skimmers.

"It could have happened to anyone," said Green.

It was hoped the devices might have been caught before card numbers were stolen, but "we've recently started getting complaints coming in as far as compromised debit cards," said Green.

To install the devices, the perpetrator gets access to the interior of the pump and replaces a cable.

"These cables usually have Bluetooth capabilities, and the perp can just sit in the parking lot and obtain this data as it occurs, or they can come back at a later time and dump the device and recover the information," said Green. "That individual is not necessarily the one that uses the cards. He can sell that information online."

About the only thing a consumer can do to be tipped off to the presence of the newer type of skimmers is to use a cell phone to look for the presence of an unusual Bluetooth wireless signal. There is also a phone app called Skimmer Scanner available for Android smartphones.

Anyone who thinks he or she might have been a victim should closely monitor activity on the debit or credit card, said Green.