Gas pump scam strikes locally - WSMV News 4

Gas pump scam strikes locally

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KIMBALL, TN (WRCB) - Detectives in Marion County are warning residents of a new scam. Thieves are stealing credit or debit card info after people fill up at the gas station.

Detectives say they're using illegal devices to copy your card information if you pay at the pump. It's a method that's been used nation-wide over the last few years, but detectives say it's a first in Marion County. They are trying to put a stop to it before more people fall victim to it.   

In a society that's all about saving time, the option to pay at the pump is common, but the Marion County Sheriff's Office is warning drivers it might end up costing you a lot more than a tank of gas.

"Several victims we located the gas stations where the information had been taken from," Marion County Detective Matt Blansett said.

Detectives say they have multiple reports over the last two weeks from people whose credit and debit card information was used by somebody other than them to buy items online and over the phone as far away as California.

"One was over $300. Some was just smaller purchases so a lot of times the smaller purchases don't get caught onto as much if they're smaller purchases," Det. Blansett said.

They've linked each case back to two gas stations in Kimball, Daily's and Raceway. Detective Blansett says their investigation points to the use of what are called "skimmers." Scam artists sit in the shadows and wait for you to swipe your card in it. In a matter of seconds they've got everything they need.

"Basically they stick it over the gas pump and once you use your credit card they pull it back off and it has your info inside of it," Det. Blansett said.

Federal investigators say if the pump's scanner looks loose or damaged, be suspicious, but they may look completely normal.

"They look legit and you can't tell unless you really examine it," Det. Blansett said.

They don't know how many thieves are involved, and have not yet recovered any of the illegal "skimmers." They're asking Marion County drivers just to avoid paying at the pump altogether for now.

"The best way is to go inside and use your debit card, therefore you can enter your pin number inside. I know it's not the most convenient, but we're recommending everybody just pay inside," Det. Blansett said.

Police in Chattanooga, Cleveland and Dalton say they have not had any reports of it in their areas. Although, Dalton says a couple of years ago they did discover skimmers being used ATMs.
The Marion County Sheriff's Office is warning all local gas station workers to be on the lookout.

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