RIVERSIDE — Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith’s weights and measures inspectors found a credit card skimming device Tuesday inside a pump at the Marathon gas station at 2100 Brandt Pike in Riverside.
The Bluetooth-enabled device was found during a routine inspection of the gas station. Upon finding the device, the Riverside Police Department was called to confiscate the device. The police department has begun a criminal investigation of the incident.
This is the sixth skimmer to be found in a Montgomery County gas pump, the first since 2015. It is the forty-ninth skimmer to be found in an Ohio gas pump, more than half of which have been found in southwest Ohio.
“I’ve instructed my inspectors to check at-risk pumps for skimmers to ensure other stations have not been impacted,” said Keith. “However, once my inspectors leave, the pumps become vulnerable again. Consumers should always take the proper measures to protect themselves.”
Consumers who recently visited the affected station should contact their financial institutions and take precautionary measures. Monitoring bank and credit card statements frequently for fraudulent charges is always a good idea, according to Keith.
“Paying for gas with cash is always the safest option,” said Keith. ”If a consumer wants to use plastic, they should use a credit card rather than a debit card.”
Customers who use their debit cards at the pump risk their PIN numbers being stolen. Motorists should use pumps near the attendant, as criminals often target far-away pumps. Anything that seems out of place or indicates that a pump has been tampered with should be reported.
Credit card scamming devices can be used to steal credit and debit card numbers as well as PIN numbers for the purpose of identity theft. These devices often have the Bluetooth technology this one has, which allow identity thieves to access private information from a distance up to 100 yards.
Keith has been a statewide leader in the effort to address the skimming crime, collaborating with his fellow county auditors to address this illegal activity in Ohio. Sixty-five county auditors hosted a statewide ‘Skimmer Sweep’ last year, inspecting more than 12,000 gas pumps. Additionally, Keith has hosted nine “Skimmer Summits” across the state to raise awareness about the dangers of gas pump skimmers and teach prevention measures to gas station owners and interested individuals.
Left: Picture of skimmer inside of gas pump. Right: Chief Weights and Measures Inspector Joe Harris stands in front of the Marathon station.