Montgomery County wins National Award
Auditor Keith’s Skimmer Sweep earns National Association of Counties Award
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: August 18, 2017
Contact: Kyle Tromley / Mike Brill
Montgomery County has received a prestigious 2017 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The Montgomery County Commission recognized Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith for this accomplishment at their August 15 meeting.
The award honors Keith’s Skimmer Sweep initiative as an innovative program that betters county residents. The Skimmer Sweep received the Achievement Award in the civic education and public information category for its success in generating consumer awareness about how motorists can protect their financial information when at the pump.
Montgomery County was one of only five Ohio counties to receive an Achievement Award, and one of only 110 counties nationwide. Keith was recognized for the award at NACo’s annual conference hosted in Ohio’s own Franklin County in late July.
“It is truly an honor to receive this award,” Keith said. “I have my colleagues to thank for the tremendous success of the Skimmer Sweep. The effort would not have been possible without the help of auditors and weights and measures inspectors from counties across Ohio.”
The Skimmer Sweep was a collaborative effort of 65 Ohio county auditors, led by Keith, over Labor Day Weekend 2016 to protect holiday travelers and raise awareness of the skimming crime. The coalition examined approximately 12,000 gas pumps throughout the state for skimming devices. Five devices were found and removed as a result of the sweep. The attention generated by the sweep informed the public on preventative measures to protect their credit card information at the pump.
“Our goal with the Skimmer Sweep was not just to find and remove skimming devices, but to make consumers more aware of skimmers,” Keith said. “Ultimately, that’s how we defeat this crime, by educating the public on how they can protect themselves.”
The Skimmer Sweep was part of an ongoing effort on behalf of Keith and his fellow county auditors to address this illegal activity. 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. Keith’s inspectors continue to address this issue locally, and have found two credit card skimmers in Montgomery County this summer.
Keith recommends consumers pay for gas with cash. If a customer enjoys the convenience of a card, they should use a credit card. 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 and debit card numbers as well as PINs for the purpose of identity theft. These devices often have Bluetooth technology, which allow identity thieves to access private information from a distance up to 100 yards.