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‘Numerous’ drivers fall victim to credit card skimmer hidden in gas pump

AMELIA COUNTY, Va. — The Amelia County Sheriff’s Office is urging drivers to check their credit card statements after a credit card skimming device found in a gas pump.

The skimmer was located Monday at the A Plus gas station, according to Amelia investigators.

“Only one device was found, but all pumps were checked,” the sheriff’s office posted on Facebook. “The device was removed however, it appears that numerous customers have been the victim of credit card / debit card theft.”

The investigation was considered “on going” according to the sheriff’s office.

Skimmers are devices that crooks plant on ATMs, gas pumps, and sometimes cash registers. Once someone swipes their card, the device electronically stores the card’s information, which is then reloaded on a blank card. A hidden recording device is usually placed near the machine to pilfer a user’s pin number.

ATMs and gas pumps are easy targets because crooks can slip in quickly, install a device, and steal the information from thousands of cards in a short time frame, according to experts.

There are several protections you can take avoid becoming a skimming victim:

Always inspect an ATM before swiping your card. If something looks out of place, do not use it and contact the bank immediately.

Since skimming devices can be hard to spot, experts suggest putting your hand over the keypad every time you punch in your pin. If there is a camera you cannot see, that should obstruct its view.

Experts suggest never using your debit card at gas pumps. They are major targets for skimmers, and devices can be installed inside the door of the pump without the business’ knowledge. This kind of device is almost impossible to spot.

At retail stores and restaurants, never let your debit card out of your sight. Usually, skimming at those kinds of businesses involve a collusive employee. Keeping a close eye on your card can prevent problems.

Regularly monitor your bank account for fraudulent charges or withdraws. The quicker you notify your bank about a problem, the quicker they can get your money back and prevent more customers from becoming victims. The longer you wait to report issues, the hard this process can become, experts said.

This is a developing story. Witnesses can send news tips, photos and video here.