A Fort Scott Police Department case that began last summer at a local gas station is ongoing.
At the Pete’s Convenience Store on East Wall in August 2020, staff noticed that a lock on the pump door had been tampered with.
The store’s maintenance employee called the FSPD immediately.
An investigation was started by retrieving the skimmer and calling other local and nearby towns to tell them of the illegal activity at the gas pump.
Skimmers are illegal card readers attached to payment terminals. These card readers grab data off a credit or debit card’s magnetic stripe without your knowledge, according to https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2018/08/watch-out-card-skimming-gas-pump Criminals sell the stolen data or use it to buy things online.
FSPD Detective Sargeant Brian Thurston mailed the skimmer to the U.S. Secret Service.
“They have the technology to get information off of the device to try to identify the perpetrator,” he said.
“The device is Blue Tooth,” he said. “The bad guy can come back and get info off of it.”
The FSPD received information back from the Secret Service on Feb. 16, 2021.
Forty-five people had their information on the skimmer, Thurston said. He has made contact with them.
“We don’t believe any info was retrieved by the suspect,” he said.
His next step is to contact the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and get assistance “to identify the device, then attach someone to that device, to identify a suspect,” he said.
Back in August, the FSPD called local gas stations and also area ones, to tell them of the skimmer.
“In Louisburg a skimmer was at an ATM inside of a store,” Thurston said.
Pete’s Convenience Store has since replaced all the locks on the gas pumps.
The 45 people who were listed on the skimmer are being notified to change their credit card, as a safety precaution, he said.
The Secret Service has sent Thurston information on the device that was connected to that skimmer.
The investigation is ongoing, he said.
How to protect oneself from skimming.
“There is a security seal on the door of the gas pump,” Thurston said. “They are different colors, that I’ve seen, green, yellow, red, blue. If that seal is broken or torn, notify the gas station attendant.”
Here are a few tips to help you avoid a skimmer when you gas up, from the https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2018/08/watch-out-card-skimming-gas-pump
- Make sure the gas pump panel is closed and doesn’t show signs of tampering. Many stations now put security seals over the cabinet panel. If the pump panel is opened, the label will read “void.”
Photo credit: National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) and Conexxus
- Look at the card reader itself. Does it look different than other readers at the station? For example, the card reader on the left has a skimmer attached; the reader on the right doesn’t.
Photo credit: Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Kamloops, Canada
Try to wiggle the card reader before you put in your card. If it moves, report it to the attendant. Then use a different pump.
- If you use a debit card at the pump, run it as a credit card instead of entering a PIN. That way, the PIN is safe and the money isn’t deducted immediately from your account.
- If you’re really concerned about skimmers, pay inside rather than at the pump.
- Monitor your credit card and bank accounts regularly to spot unauthorized charges.
If your credit card has been compromised, report it to your bank or card issuer. Federal law limits your liability if your credit, ATM, or debit card is lost or stolen, but your liability may depend on how quickly you report the loss or theft. For more information, read Lost or Stolen Credit, ATM, and Debit Cards.