Ontario, Wayne, Monroe and Seneca counties have all been hit. The skimmers are used to steal your information and make bogus credit cards. The thieves then use those cards at local retailers.
Police agencies are finding credit card skimmers on pumps across our area. Monroe County alone has removed skimmers from pumps at seven separate gas stations in just the past few weeks.
The skimmers are used to steal your information and make bogus credit cards. The thieves then use those cards at local retailers.
Skimming devices have been found all over Ontario, Wayne and Seneca counties too. The FBI is now involved. And the scary part about this is that you can't tell by just looking at a pump whether there's a skimmer attached.
Stations with older pumps are being targeted because in many cases, the thieves just need one key to be able to open them up and place the skimming devices.
"Most of the stations have their own key but they're pretty generic keys and you get can get them anywhere," says Craig Lape, Monroe County Weights and Measures.
There are 3,000 gas pumps in Monroe County alone. I asked the man in charge of inspecting those pumps: How many can be accessed with just that key?
"I would say it's probably 50-50 right now," says Lape.
Meaning, we've all likely gotten gas somewhere that could have been hit.
Carlos Cabrera-Quintero and Raciel Diaz-Diaz were arrested in Ontario County last week. Investigators believe they are part of a bigger ring of thieves that has been placing skimming devices on local gas pumps. My law enforcement sources tell me that they have surveillance video of these two and others using the credit card information stolen with the skimmers at 14 different Walmarts in the area.
So, how can you protect yourself? Well first, look for gas stations with upgraded pumps. Typically, they'll have a screen on them and they can't be opened with just a key.
"With the newer pumps the credit card reader encrypts the data right here and it can't go down the wire to be read," says Paul Marrone, East Ave Auto owner.
And anyone who tries...
"If you play with the device that reads the cards at all, it turns the pump off," Marrone says.
But again, only about half of the stations locally have these pumps because they're expensive. If you're at a station that hasn't upgraded, look for security tape like near the credit card reader.