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Gas Skimmers Attack Bay Area Gas Stations

Updated on June 11, 2011

This is getting a bit freaky. It is becoming increasingly common. It is invisible to the untrained eye and can drain your account in days.

Gas skimmers. Small simple devices implanted with the gas pump, unknown to all, even the station owners. Invisible from the outside and can be invisible even when a trained eye is looking inside the pump. They are easily made and when a customer uses there credit or debit card at a gas pump, something we all must do, the risk is there now that a skimmer will record the info on the magnetic strip and relay the info to a nefarious individual that will steal from you. You will never know it unless you notice odd charges.

That's is what has been happening in the Northbay, Healdsburg and Santa Rosa, specifically. At the Valero station in Healdsburg, customers started to notice hefty amounts being charged for gas to the tune of $300 and more over many days. When technicians opened up the two pumps, they found the skimmers, even he station owner had been robbed. In one case, the skimmer beamed the credit card data somewhere for weeks before being discovered. Usually the amounts were $100 daily that were taken, one person lost $3000. Skimmers also have attacked stations in Mountain View and Los Altos. In a recent bust, two 24 yr old men were arrested for skimming, both from LA and had implanted skimmers in several stations in the SF area and had 3600 credit card numbers to steal from at will. Some $90,000 had been stolen from 200 unlucky gas pumpers.

Skimmers have been found in Benica, Livermore, Hayward, Oakland, San Mateo and Sacramento. The best advice is to use a credit card for gas because the amount lost can be restored electronically. Using a debit card means, the money is gone from the account and it is harder to get it back.

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    • kiwi91 profile image

      kiwi91 6 years ago from USA

      I agree about using a debit card. I no longer opt into using a debit card for my bank account because of identity theft. If they wind up stealing your credit, that's not real money, and the CC companies are much quicker to act. Banks are slower, and that's actual CASH they are taking from you. The last time I had identity theft on my debit card it took a week to get it all squared away. Major credit cards seem to solve the problem the same day.

    • POWERS1205 profile image

      POWERS1205 6 years ago

      Good to know! Thank you!

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      How on earth would you know? Any way I won't use a debit card again! Thanks for the heads up!