Victim's hunch helps store find credit card skimmer inside gas pump

SAPD removes device from Exxon pump on Huebner Road

SAN ANTONIO – A Northwest Side man’s suspicions have led to the discovery of a credit card skimmer hidden inside a gas pump. This is at least the second such device found at a gas station in San Antonio.

San Antonio police went to an Exxon station on Huebner Road near Interstate 10 around 3 a.m. Monday and removed the skimmer.

According to a preliminary report, a store clerk called police after noticing signs of tampering with the gas pump. A regular customer had notified the worker about some unusual activity that had shown up on his bank account, the report said.

Police said the 36-year-old man recalled that the gas station was the last place he had used the credit card, and that he had gotten his gas from a pump that he often uses. It was the same pump that showed signs of tampering and contained the skimmer, the report said.

The credit card skimmer had been screwed into a section on the inside of the pump, completely out of sight, the report said.

David Fletcher, who stopped by to pump gas later in the morning, said he was in the dark about what had happened.

"This is news to me and the first time I've encountered it, but obviously, I've seen it on the news," he said.

Late last month, San Antonio police spoke with KSAT 12 News about a similar device that was discovered inside a gas pump at another Exxon station, near Loop 1604 and Bandera Road. Police explained at that time that criminals use the skimmers to capture people’s credit and debit card numbers along with their access codes.

They said the crooks can then download the stored information, sometimes through the use of Bluetooth technology. Once they have the card numbers and other information, they can use it to access victims’ accounts, police said.

In the case of the Huebner Road station, police said the pump clearly had signs of tampering, including a broken security seal.

"Well, I'll look for a broken lock, yeah. But it's a risk we all have to take, I guess," Fletcher said.

Being that the skimmers are undetectable from the outside, police said it’s a good idea to look for signs of trouble on the gas pump itself.

Both gas pumps involved were operated by 7-Eleven stores. The company’s corporate office did not respond to emails and phone calls from KSAT 12 News requesting a comment on the issue.

About the Author: