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Auditor Keith checks high-risk gas pumps for skimmers

Inspectors targeting pumps along I-35, I-70 and I-75 before holiday weekend

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                    
Date:  July 1, 2016  
Contact: Mike Brill

Montgomery County Auditor Keith this week instructed his Weights and Measures inspectors to check nearly 30 gas stations along Interstate 35, I-70 and I-75 for credit card skimming devices to protect consumers and Fourth of July weekend travelers from identity theft.  

The inspectors have also been educating station owners, managers and employees about what a skimmer is, how to search for them and other steps they can take to protect consumers.

“We know these criminals are targeting pumps near the interstate and we have reason to suspect this crime is prevalent on holiday weekends,” said Keith. “We’re checking to ensure the pumps are safe to use, but more than anything we hope to encourage stations to take measures to protect consumers in the future.”

At least 13 skimming devices have been found in southwest Ohio in the past year. According to Keith, the frequent discovery of these devices indicates that the threat of this crime will continue, so consumers should be careful when filling up their tanks.

“Once our inspectors leave, the pumps are vulnerable to criminals again,” said Keith. “Consumers should always take the proper measures to protect themselves when they are at the pump, such as by using a credit card rather than a debit card. Paying for gas with cash is always the safest option.”

Customers who use their debit cards at the pump risk their PIN numbers being stolen.  Monthly bank and credit card statements should always be reviewed for any fraudulent charges. Motorists should use pumps near the attendant, as criminals often target far-away pumps. Anything that seems out of place or indicates that a pump has been tampered with should be reported.

Credit card scamming devices can be used to steal credit card and debit card numbers as well as PIN numbers for the purpose of identity theft.  Additionally, these devices often have Bluetooth technology, which allow identity thieves to access private information from a distance up to 100 yards.

Keith is collaborating with his fellow county auditors to address this illegal activity in Ohio. He hosted his seventh “Skimmer Summit” Wednesday with Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes in Sharonville to raise awareness about the dangers of gas pump skimmers and teach prevention measures to gas station owners and interested individuals.