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Keith teaches Huber Heights police about skimmers 

Karl at Huber Heights PD 

Auditor Karl Keith gives a presentation to Huber Heights police officers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                    
Date:  August 9, 2016        
Contact: Mike Brill
937-225-6372                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith visited the Huber Heights Police Department today to teach officers how to identify gas pump credit card skimming devices and what actions can be taken if one is found.

Keith presented at the department’s staff meeting.  He outlined the actions that should be taken when a skimmer is found.  He also gave the officers an overview of how the skimmer crime has evolved in Ohio over the past few years and the types of suspicious behavior that might indicate that an individual is participating in a skimming crime scheme.

A patron noticed that kind of suspicious behavior at an Englewood gas pump on Monday, according to Keith. The police were called, and a would-be identity thief was chased away. 

“I came to Huber Heights to help protect the community from this crime,” said Keith.  “The local police department is often the first call when someone suspects a skimmer is at a pump. That was certainly true this past week in Englewood, so I wanted to make sure Huber Heights’ officers have the information they need to respond effectively.”

The County Auditor has the responsibility of being the County Sealer and oversees the Weights and Measures department, which protects consumers by monitoring commercial devices such as gas pumps.  The Weights and Measures team performs over 7,000 gas pump inspections a year.

At least 30 skimming devices have been found in Ohio since 2013, including a skimmer that was found inside a gas pump in Auglaize County last week.  Five have been found in Montgomery County.  Although none have been found in Huber Heights, Keith’s inspectors worked with the Huber Heights Police Department in 2015 to check pumps following reports of suspected pump tampering.

Keith says the frequent discovery of these devices indicates that the threat of this crime will continue, and 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.  He has hosted seven “Skimmer Summits” to raise awareness about the dangers of gas pump skimmers and teach prevention measures to law enforcement agents, gas station owners and interested individuals.

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