Why you might see more credit card skimmers at gas pumps

Posted at 11:32 PM, Apr 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-14 12:23:39-04

Credit card skimmers are popping up again in Northeast Ohio and it may get worse before it gets better, one expert cautioned.

The devices, used to steal credit card information from point-of-sale machines, were removed from two gas pumps on April 9 at the Shell station at Smith and Snow Roads in Brook Park.

An eagle-eyed station attendant, out changing receipt paper, found the devices installed inside pumps 3 and 7. Police collected those devices for evidence. Last week, during a routine inspection, Cuyahoga County weights and measures agents found another skimmer at a Circle K in Oakwood.

Credit security expert Matt Franko with Cleveland’s Secure State said crooks are zeroing in on gas pumps where the more secure chip technology has yet to catch on.

“Instead of them just changing out a reader that costs $250,” Franko said, “They have to change out the entire pump.”

Visa and MasterCard had required gas stations nationwide to upgrade their card readers by this year, but that’s now been moved to 2020 over complaints about the cost.

Franko said gas station customers should make sure the security seal on the pump isn’t broken and even try jiggling the card reader to make sure it’s not loose. That’s because some skimmers just sit right on top.

He also recommended people check their bank and credit statements often.