County residents should look closely the next time they swipe their credit cards at a local gas pump to make sure they are not getting scammed, according to the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office is investigating recent incidents in Midway that involved a fireman whose county credit card information was stolen after using a fuel pump.
A “skimming device,” installed by a thief at the pump, apparently captured the county credit card information. The credit card was then duplicated and used to make an out-of-state purchase, said Chaves County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Britt Snyder.
The card company notified the county after the first incident and the fireman was issued a second card. The second card was used, and it happened again, Snyder said.
“Obviously, we’ve notified the vendors,” Snyder said.
The investigation is ongoing. The suspects may have just been “passing through,” and could have hit several customers and banks in a short time period.
“It can affect a lot of people,” Snyder said. “It’s really important for consumers to get online and look at their bank account daily. You cannot be too careful. This is big business. They have to turn that card information around as quickly as they get it before somebody catches on to it.”
Snyder encouraged anyone who suspects their credit information has been compromised to call their financial institution immediately.
Skimming machines are typically attached to a gas pump, an ATM or similar outside device. The device is installed by a third party, and can read and store credit card information, including PIN numbers, with each card swipe.
Criminals later use this information to typically make out-of-state purchases or online purchases.
Businesses were asked to check their equipment daily for the devices.
“If something doesn’t look right, make sure the reader is attached,” Snyder said. “If you can pull it off there, that’s a skimmer, not a reader. We want to encourage business people to check their equipment everyday.”