Credit card skimmer removed from Airline Hwy gas station pump
BATON ROUGE - Inspectors with the Department of Agriculture report a credit card skimmer was found during routine inspection rounds at a gas station in Baton Rouge.
Officials say they located the device Monday, but are uncertain how long it was attached to the pump, which is located at the Shell Food Mart at the intersection of Airline Hwy and Tom Dr. Consumers who used their credit or debit card to pay at the pumps at the gas station are urged to check their bank and credit card statements for suspicious transaction activity.
"This is the newer generation (of skimmers)," Commissioner Mike Strain said. "The first generation what would happen is they would glue them on the front, and you would see something that didn't look right. This generation you can't tell because it's in there it's simultaneous capture."
The skimmer was removed by the Department of Agriculture, and it has been turned over to the Secret Service which will continue the investigation.
For the uninitiated, skimmers are small, easily camouflaged devices that scan and store credit card data from the card's magnetic stripe.
Skimmers are installed by criminals on gas pumps or ATMs in such a way that the unwary consumer frequently swipes their payment card without noticing the attached device. Once the data is recorded, crooks retrieve and either use the information to make illegal purchases themselves or sell the credit card details to a third party via the internet.
"These locks at the pumps are all universal locks," Gas station owner Usman Jafri said. "You go to any pump and can put the key in it."
Jafri is in the process of changing out the locks on all of his gas pumps.
Hidden out of sight of authorities, there are portions of the internet where credit card user information is bought, sold and traded before the data is eventually "cloned" onto a blank credit card to be used in stores at a later time. Oftentimes, cardholders are unaware of the fraudulent shopping sprees made on their behalf until their bank statement arrives, chock full of purchases that they never made.
Gas station patrons like Matthew Espinosa plan to keep going to Jafri's station, despite the concern over the card skimmer.
"It's wrong," Espinosa said. "I work hard for my money. I wouldn't want someone to do that."