Identity Theft Articles

'Skimming' Targets Debit, Credit Cards At Gas Stations

Using a technique called "skimming," the thieves receive card number and account information.

Salt Lake Valley criminals are targeting consumers who use debit and credit cards at gas stations, according to a report by ABC 4 News.

Using a technique called "skimming," the thieves receive card number and account information from electronic devices attached inside the gas pump. The information is transmitted via Bluetooth technology to another device located near the gas pump.

"The criminals then collect this data and will often use the credit card number or [debit] card and PIN to make purchases or to obtain cash in other parts of the country," the report said.

Identity theft from this device led to more than $11,000 in losses in Los Angeles County, according to the report. Police recommend consumers use cash whenever possible to pay for transactions at gas pumps. Debit should be used as a last resort, because thieves with PIN and card numbers can drain an entire account, according to the report. Losses from credit card fraud are easier to dispute.

Credit and debit card users should also read their monthly statements carefully. The Federal Trade Commission advises consumers whose cards have been compromised to notify the card issuer of the unauthorized charges as quickly as possible.