Keith teaches sheriff’s deputies how to identify and investigate skimmers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: February 14, 2017
Contact: Mike Brill
Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith visited the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office this week to teach deputies how to identify gas pump credit card skimming devices and how to respond if one is found.
Keith presented at a morning roll call with deputies at the Washington Township Sheriff’s Office substation. He focused on the types of suspicious behavior that might indicate an individual is participating in a skimming crime scheme and the actions that should be taken after a skimmer is found. He also gave the deputies an overview of how the skimmer crime has evolved in Ohio over the past few years and explained why gas pumps have become a popular target for thieves.
Keith says he hopes this knowledge will help the deputies if they are alerted to strange behavior at a gas pump.
“I visited the Sheriff’s Office to help protect the community from this crime,” said Keith. “Local law enforcement is often the first call when someone suspects a skimmer is at a pump, so I wanted to make sure these deputies had the information they need to respond effectively.”
Keith also spoke to four area police departments on the subject last year. The topic is pertinent because at least 47 skimming devices have been found in Ohio since 2013, including two skimmers found at a Butler County gas station last week. Five have been found in Montgomery County.
Keith says the frequent discovery of these devices in the area indicates the threat of this crime will continue, so consumers should be careful when filling up their tanks.
“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,” said Keith. “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. 60 county auditors hosted a statewide ‘Skimmer Sweep’ earlier this year, inspecting more than 12,000 gas pumps. Additionally, Keith has hosted nine “Skimmer Summits” across the state to raise awareness about the dangers of gas pump skimmers and teach prevention measures to gas station owners and interested individuals.