Published: September 13, 2016 GRAND CHUTE, Wis. (WBAY) – People who pay at the gas pump are being urged to be vigilant after card skimmers designed to steal your credit card information at 11 gas stations throughout Wisconsin, including Appleton, Grand Chute and Oshkosh.
So far, only Grand Chute Police are revealing which gas station was hit in their jurisdiction. A state investigator discovered a skimmer at BB Mobil Mart.
Police tell us they’re working with the Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to figure out who installed them, which could be difficult because they can be installed in less than 10 seconds.
“In this case, these are internal skimmers, not external. And that’s the challenge for everybody,” said Frank Fassetto, administrator for DATCP. “Be vigilant. Check your statements on a monthly basis and try to stay one step ahead. That at least will help mitigate any damage that may occur down the road.”
Frassetto says consumers should keep a close eye on the gas pumps.
The department describes skimmers as:
External devices — false card readers that fit over actual card reader on the pump
Internal devices — typically a communications cable with an in-line recording device that is run between the card reader and main board
The DATCP says you can notice signs of tampering at the pump by lightly wiggling the card reader. Skimmers may feel loose and come off. Also, look to see if security seals on the pump have been broken.
“Although this is inconvenient– instead of paying at the pump, you may just want to go inside the store and have them swipe your card inside the store,” Frassetto said.
The department says “high risk areas” for skimmers include major highway corridors, travel centers/plazas, and other areas of heavy traffic.
“We’ve obviously ramped up our inspection and are continuing to do so as we also alert these associations and have them get the word out to stations to be vigilant and check their dispensers and make sure that if there’s any unusual activity out there to maybe investigate and find out what’s going on,” said Frassetto.
Police and consumer officials say card skimmers aren’t new, but seeing this many pop up at once is a huge concern. Frassetto is touring the state, using TV and radio to get out the message to debit and credit card users.
“The best defense against card skimmer theft is a strong offense, so we strongly encourage shoppers to pay close attention to their monthly statements and to regularly check their credit reports. Report any potential skimmer-related fraudulent activity to the financial institution and to the station where the transaction occurred,” he added.