Skimmers Going High-Tech to Steal Your Money

October 11, 2017, 11:32 am EST | Share:

CHARLESTON, SC (WTAT-TV) — Just last week we told you about a pair of gas skimming suspects arrested in the Lowcountry, so we wanted to know just how often it is happening.

We found out devices have been discovered at three Charleston-area gas stations just this year.

But, police tell us crooks are going to more high-tech tools to steal your money. Some are even using bluetooth devices which means a skimmer can steal your debit or credit card data and get away without you ever knowing.

“Somehow they get keys to the gas pumps, they open up the door and plug these jumper wires in that has a computer memory chip, and as people use their cards throughout the day it was storing the data,” said Sgt. Trevor Shelor with the Charleston Police Department. “But they had to come back and open it up again to get their device out.”

Now, Sgt. Shelor says they have factored in their price of doing business. “Attaching a bluetooth to (the pump) so they can simply drive up to the pump, hit scan, copy the information and drive away and the whole device is disposable.”

Authorities say, next time you’re at the pump, simply grab your cell phone, go into your settings, scan for Bluetooth devices. It could uncover one of those secret skimmers.

“If you tell your phone to scan for a Bluetooth connection and you see a very long series of numbers as one of the Bluetooth contacts that it has found, that’s a good place to avoid,” Shelor said.

While it’s a great technique, police say it isn’t foolproof. Detectives recommend that you monitor your bank statements, and if you see anyone at a gas pump with a tool in their hands who is not wearing a regulation uniform, you should call police.