TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Management at a local gas station reported one of their pumps had been tampered with, but no skimmer device was discovered.
It happened at the Valero gas station located at 3999 E. Fry Blvd., police say.
The Sierra Vista Police Department advises motorists to check for security stickers at local gas station pumps as a precaution to avoid falling prey to skimmer devices that steal credit card information.
May Armstrong, manager of the gas station, told police that she discovered two security seals on one pump had been tampered with while she was conducting the daily pump check.
If the seals are damaged or tampered with, the word “void” appears across the sticker. Armstrong also noticed computer wires had been pulled out of the machine.
SVPD officers say it is possible the individual trying to attach such a device was scared off before completing the job. SVPD is working with Valero to review security footage to see whether the suspect can be identified.
SVPD officers made contact with personnel at every gas station in Sierra Vista and advised them of the situation. All gas stations reported having similar security measures in place and that they check their pumps at least once a day, with some checking as many as three times each day. All gas station managers advised pumps are designed to shut down automatically if a skimmer device is attached to the pump.
Here are some tips to protecting yourself:
- Inspect the gas pump and be suspicious if you see anything loose or damaged. If the store has adhesive security stickers, make sure they are not voided or appear broken. Wiggle the card reader to verify it is not loose. If you feel something is wrong, notify the attendant and pay inside the store. You WILL NOT break the machine by tugging on the reader.
- Ask store personnel how frequently they check for skimming devices or what measures they have in place to protect your credit card information.
- 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 money isn’t deducted immediately from your account.
- Use a credit card with a small limit solely for fuel purchases or pay inside rather at the pump.
- If you come across a skimmer, you should report it to you bank, the local police department and Arizona Department of Agriculture Weights and Measures Services Division.
- Keep an eye on your bank and credit card statements for suspicious activity.
- Use dispensers in well-lit areas that are positioned in view of employees.
- Watch out for large vehicles such as SUVs, trucks, and vans that park in front of fuel dispensers for long periods of time. Criminals have been known to use large vehicles to block the view of the dispenser from site employees while they install a skimming device.
- Watch out for people using electronic devices such as computers or tablets that may be sitting in vehicles near a fuel dispensing site. Some skimmers have been known to have Bluetooth capability, which allows criminals to download information from a skimming device when they are in range of the Bluetooth signal.