“If you’re using a card (debit or credit) at the pumps your taking a gamble — rolling the dice,” says Capt. Keith Ingle, Ardmore Police Department Criminal Investigations Division.
Ingle said detectives are conducting a “skimming” inquiry surrounding a recent rash of debit/credit card number thefts. Some of those thefts are suspected of being the work of skimmers using hand-held technology that reads and records card chip information. But the majority of the high dollar thefts are occurring when citizens pay for gas at the pump.
“We have had several reports in the last few days with most of the thefts occurring at convenience stores and gas stations within a single North Commerce Street block,” Ingle explained. “We are currently waiting on the arrival of a pump company representative to examine the pumps and determine if skimmer devices have been implanted in the pump mechanisms. In the meantime we are exploring other possible scenarios that could result in the same kinds of thefts.”
Citizens are urged not to pay at the pump at any location regardless of the city or state and Ingle says this is not a one time warning. It’s not now and not in the future.
“Always go inside where you can watch the transaction being carried out. No one should ever, and I mean not ever, pay at the pump. In this day and age it is simply too easy to gain card information without the card owners ever knowing it’s happening. These skimmers are getting a lot of information from a lot of people in a very short time,” Ingle said. “So even if only one purchase is made per card before the card company detects what’s going on, thousands of dollars can be spent in a very short time.”
Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a skimmer should verify any thefts or attempted thefts through their bank or card company and report such incidents to police immediately.