Beware: Credit card skimmers discovered in Garfield Heights

Beware: Credit card skimmers discovered in Garfield Heights

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - County inspectors doing a routine check at a Garfield Heights Sunoco on Turney road discovered something that wasn't right at pump number five.

"It makes me worried and scared," said gas station manager Moody Abusbeia.

What they found was a credit card skimmer.

"They were telling me that the gentleman could have had something similar to what our pumps look like at home to create such a device like that," said Abusbeia.

Moody Abusbeia runs the gas station and tells us the weights and measures inspectors are reviewing their surveillance cameras to try to catch the thief. He says they may have been driving a large truck that blocked the pump.

Secret service agents tell us the device hidden inside the cabinet of pump five was an older type that stores data until the thief comes back to get it.

"Not good. Not good at all," expressed Stanley Williams Sr.

Stanley Williams Sr. is a customer at the gas station. He tells us he usually pays with cash, and never with a debit card, but, when he does use a credit at the pump he always examines the card reader closely.

"Look when you're sliding your card in the machine. If something doesn't look right go inside and use the card on the inside," explained Stanley Williams Sr.

As for this gas station owner, He says he's not sure if the thief was able to steal credit card information to make fake credit cards,  but says he'll keep a closer eye on who's at the pump and what they're doing.

"Hopefully they'll apprehend the suspect soon," said Abusbeia.

Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs Issues Credit Card Skimmer Alert

Cuyahoga County's Department of Consumer Affairs is issuing a new alert about credit card skimmers after its Weights and Measures inspectors found one of the identity-theft devices at a Garfield Heights gas station.

Inspectors discovered the illegal device this morning during a routine check of gas pump accuracy at the Sunoco station at 6009 Turney Road in Garfield Heights.

Skimmers are camouflaged or hidden devices that ID thieves use to capture consumers' credit and debit card information as they pay at the pump. Thieves secretly install devices and then they use the stolen information to create fraudulent cards.

Although some devices transmit information remotely, Secret Service agents said the device hidden inside the cabinet of the station's No. 5 pump was an older type that stores data until the thief returns to retrieve it.

The Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs urges gas stations to routinely inspect pump cabinets and registers for strange or unusual wiring, broken security seals or loose or protruding card reader mechanisms.

Station employees who verify a skimmer is on a pump should immediately call police and avoid touching the device.

Skimmers like the one found by county inspectors are installed inside the pump cabinet, and consumers often have no way to spot them.

Consumers can protect themselves by:

  • Using pumps that are in view of the gas station office because those are less likely to be compromised
  • Using chip cards rather than swipe cards when possible.
  • Avoiding any card reader that looks odd or that seems or seems loose. (Give the reader a gentle shake.)
  • Using credit cards rather than debit cards at the pump.
  • Paying indoors if possible.
  • Regularly reviewing statements for unauthorized charges.

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