ID Thieves Use Hidden Credit Card Skimmers in Gas Pumps

Updated: 04/24/2013 5:31 PM By: Nick Winkler

Identity thieves break into gasoline pumps, install credit card skimmers, and use Bluetooth technology to remotely download stolen credit card data.

With older skimmers, which simply cover legitimate credit card readers, identity thieves would have to return to the pump and physically collect stolen data. Additionally, consumers cannot see the skimmers since they are embedded inside the pumps.

That's why new skimmers are extremely effective.

However, a sharp-eyed station owner in Plymouth recently spotted two skimmers and quickly alerted police. The find ultimately led to the arrest of Gohar Yesayan and her husband Sarkis Mkhsyan. Investigators say the couple stole credit card data from more than 450 people. Yesayan was convicted of identity theft this month. Mkhsyan is scheduled to go to trial in July.

Some service stations are now installing high security locks and security tape on gasoline pumps. If the tape has been compromised, do not swipe your card.

Consumers can also protect themselves by paying inside or using prepaid cars with small balances.