Marion Auditor’s Office issues warning over card skimmers at gas stations, ATM location

skimmers 2The Marion County Auditor’s Office is warning local residents that thieves are using skimmers or card readers at gas stations and ATM machines to steal from customers. While they don’t believe this has occurred in Marion County as of yet, it has been becoming more prevalent across the state.

The photos included with this story are examples from skimmers located outside of Marion County.

Card readers will record your credit card numbers when swiped in payment for purchases.  Skimmers will also record pin numbers if you use debit cards.  These skimmer devices are placed inside gas pumps and some ATM machines.  These card readers can be put inside the gas pumps in a matter of seconds.  Skimmers cannot be seen unless the door to the pump is opened, and you won’t notice them unless you know how they look.

The Marion County Auditor deputy for Weights & Measures, Steve Smith, has contacted local gas stations and made them aware of the skimmer problems.

The Dayton Daily News reported that an investigator with the Ohio Highway Patrol has seen a pattern with  groups that have been hitting the Ohio area as well as Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. They don’t stay in one place too long. They’ll hit an area and move on, or they run along interstates

Skimmers 1Skimmers have been found in Franklin, Dayton, Mason, and several counties including Butler, Fayette, Hamilton, Montgomery, Union, Warren, Washington, along with various places in Michigan. Thieves will usually target stations along busy freeways, or stations that are closed or unattended at night. Skimmers are often placed in the pumps that an attendant is unable to watch or the further distance from the station.  At times a truck or van is parked so that the attendant cannot see what is being tampered, or another partner will distract the cashier inside the station.

Most gas stations have some sort of security. The most visual is a paper seal on the door of pumps or where the cards readers would be installed.  Some stations have automatic shutdowns on the pumps if the doors are tampered.  Others have a special pump key for use only at their gas station.  Approximately 85% of the Marion County stations have some type of security.

Most important is to be aware.  Look to see if the security tape is cut or has been altered. Ask station managers what kind of security they use.  If you observe a person inside of a pump, check to see if the attendant is aware of a person working on it.

The safest way to pay is with cash.  Next, use a credit card inside of the gas station. It is easier to remove fraudulent charges off credit cards than debit cards. If possible, do not use a debit card where a pin number must be entered. Pin numbers are a favorite of thieves because they provide access to bank accounts.

Notify law enforcement if you have a fraudulent charge on your card.

For concerns or more information, you can contact the Marion County Auditor’s Office’s Weights & Measures at 740-223-4185.

About Marion Online News

Marion Online is owned and operated by the (somewhat) fine people at Neighborhood Image, a local website design and hosting company. We know, a locally owned media company, it's crazy. To send us information, click on Contact Us in the menu.