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New app fights gas station skimmers

Posted: 7:38 AM, Oct 17, 2017
Updated: 2017-10-19 13:28:50Z

Criminals are aggressively going after your credit card numbers. The amount of illegal skimmers that snag your info when you swipe your card at gas pumps is getting worse.

5 On Your Side Investigators uncover new efforts trying to keep your money safer.

Before you gas up, you have to swipe. It’s something many drivers are worried about.

Now there's a new app to help. It's called Skimmer Scanner.  You hold it up to the pump and it figures out if there is a Bluetooth skimmer inside. If so, you get a red alert. If not, there's a green sign. It's a free app for Android phones. There’s no iPhone app just yet.

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"We have picked up our inspections in Medina County,” said Mike Kovack who is the Medina County Auditor. His county's been hit by skimmers. "It's been an ongoing problem across the state,” he said.

Kovack told us the key problem is there are universal keys for gas pumps. 

"You can go out online and buy a universal key and it fits the majority of gas pumps in the country right now."

He's right. We checked Google and within seconds we found multiple keys.

Just this month, county auditors from Ohio met to talk about skimmers and the need for new legislation. "The answer to the problem is to require unique locks,” said Kovack. 

Kovach also has a new program targeting 1800 gas stations in Medina County to use safety stickers placed on pumps. You might have seen similar labels that hope to warn you if they are broken, but the new blue ones take that idea to the next level.

We wanted to test the seal to see what it looks like when it's broken. During our test, we noticed it was pretty hard to break, but when it did break the label showed the word “void” on it.

"We have a very vested interest in trying to protect consumers across the state,” Kovack told us. He also said criminals target gas stations near highways and those stations in his county have been very receptive to the new sticker program.

We checked and 5 On Your Side Investigators found numerous stations are not using the auditor's new "void" stickers yet.