CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. – As scammers continue to find new ways to get ahold of your personal and financial information, police in Shelby are offering a few tips on how to see if a gas pump has a skimmer in place.
Skimmers are electronic devices used to record account numbers from your bank cards that are then used to steal your money and identity. In some cases, they’ll be placed right on the outside of the card reader on a gas pump, or they may be placed inside the machine, out of plain sight.
Officer Matthew Melvin said a gas station technician found a skimmer inside a pump Thursday morning and that two customers may have been affected. He said the thieves were able to open the gas pump panel and place it inside.
"If you walked up to the pump, you wouldn't have known it was on there," Melvin said.
Detectives encourage you to perform the following tasks if you’re unsure about a gas pump.
First, make sure there is a tamper-proof seal installed on the pump. If the seal has been altered, it will say “void” or removed entirely. If you see either of these situations, don’t use that pump.
Also, grab the card reader and make sure an external skimmer isn’t in place. If you find a skimmer on the pump, notify the clerk and police.
Third, many skimmers utilize Bluetooth technology. You can use your cell phone to check for any active devices. To do so, turn on your phone’s Bluetooth and see if a nearby device shows up. According to Shelby Police, if your phone picks up a device with a long string of letters or numbers, this may be a skimmer.
The gas station chain QuikTrip, which hasn't been affected by skimmers in the Charlotte area, is now using silent alarms at each of its pumps, which notify a central monitoring center if an unauthorized person has opened a pump.
Officer Melvin asked anyone who finds a skimmer or believes may be affected in Shelby to call the police department.
If you suspect a skimmer is on a pump or an ATM, you are asked to notify store management and contact the police.