Athens Gas Stations Prepare for Skimming Threat

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Gas pumps seem harmless, but they can hold the key to bank and credit card accounts through a process called “skimming.”   Montgomery County Auditor Karl L. Keith said the crime has been growing in Ohio with 21 cases reported as of mid-March.

Skimming occurs when thieves install credit card skimmers alongside, or in place of, gas station credit card readers. Installation of the skimmers takes less then 30 seconds and because the devices are usually Bluetooth capable, the thieves immediately lift the financial information as soon as a customer swipes their card. gas feature 2

While no cases have been reported in Athens county, local stations are attempting to prevent such thefts here.

“We have recently started putting tamper-evidence stickers on our pumps, so if someone opens a pump door, we are going to know that it’s been opened,” Court St. BP station worker Jamie Clemons said.

And while county inspectors check the gas pumps, Clemons says she’s not sure who the inspectors are or if they are even checking for skimmers, leaving most of the responsibility for prevention to the stations themselves.gas feature

Jeremy Tolson, Chief Deputy Auditor of Athens, says the county is doing what it can to train gas stations to prevent skimming. However he believes the best way to  prevent the practice is through education.

The state has started holding “skimmer summits” to train inspectors and card users what to look for. The seminar also encourages cardholders to routinely check their bank and card statements for suspicious activity.

While some are concerned skimming could happen in Athens anytime, one man feels the problem is bigger than him.

“I have no control with what goes on in this machine,” Athens resident Rodney Armstrong said. “If you take something from me without me giving you my permission, why would you think something good going to come to you.”