Recently Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. announced the arrest of thirteen people for identity theft perpetrated through skimmers installed in gas pumps at gas stations in Texas, Georgia and South Carolina. Skimmers, as I have told you many times previously are small electronic devices that are often installed by identity thieves to ATMs and other devices, such as gas pumps that have credit card swiping capabilities. The skimmer captures the information from the inserted credit card or debit card and transmits the information to the identity thief who is then able to use that information to make phony credit cards and debit cards to steal money from the victim of identity theft. In this case, the skimmers were installed on gas pumps at Raceway and RaceTrac gas stations in Texas, Georgia and South Carolina. The stolen information was transmitted from the skimmer using Bluetooth technology to the identity thieves who then made phony credit cards using that data which they then used to withdraw cash from ATMs in New York City.
Certainly if you used a credit or debit card at a Raceway or RaceTrac gas station in Texas, Georgia, or South Carolina in 2012 or 2013, you should check your credit card statements and bank account statements for evidence of any fraudulent use although frankly we should all check our credit account statements and bank account statements at least once a month and preferably more often. If you find irregularities, report them to your bank or credit card company immediately. Also, whenever you use a credit or debit card swiping device, you should always carefully inspect the device for any evidence of tampering. Skimmers can be quite thin, but are most often visible if you carefully inspect the device you are using. If the device seems at all peculiar, don’t use it.