SEGUIN, Texas – Seguin police are warning residents about the dangers of credit card skimmers at gas pumps after discovering multiple skimming devices at a gas station off I-10.
The Pic N Pac Valero gas station has been hit before.
“This is a prime location right here at the interstate because we have had several cases at this location before,” said Tanya Brown, public information officer for the Seguin Police Department. “One reason being is that it is where many people stop to fill up without second-guessing that they may be affected by skimmers.”
Brown said police responded after a technician found three skimming devices inside one of the pumps Wednesday. Though the suspect is at large, Brown said, police are already on the hunt to find the culprit.
“We have surveillance in the area,” Brown said. “We do have the devices, so we will try to get the data off of those or DNA to see who has touched those devices.”
Skimming typically works after a skimming device retains the information from a card, and in some cases, they record PINs to access and steal from bank accounts.
Brown said the frustrating part about crimes such as these is that technology complicates the investigation.
“(Crooks) get very smart, and there is a lot of technical equipment out there for them to use, and so we are constantly trying to get ahead of the curve. Once we do, they find another method and use that, so it is discouraging, but we are going to keep fighting crime and keep putting bad guys away,” Brown said.
She said officers pick up on a trend when responding to these cases.
“Normally, there is only one person working at the gas station, and sometimes they have several responsibilities to where they cannot pay attention to everything at all times,” Brown said. “The suspects will do this while they are not looking, or they will do this at the pump that is farthest to the outside. They never go back to the machine most of the time to get the skimming devices. That was the old way, where you actually had to go back and get the skimmer, but now you can just download it as long as it is within 50 feet.”
Brown said she is hopeful that in the future, officers will be able to crack down on these investigations more.
“The new law is going to require that these locations have newer gas pumps by 2020, that if a door is opened, that a technician has to come out and service the machine before they are able to use it again,” Brown said.
She also added there are several tips to follow to protect yourself from becoming a victim.
“We want drivers to turn on your Bluetooth and check it before you use the gas pump,” Brown said. “A long number will display on your screen on the Bluetooth if there is a skimmer nearby. You can also go inside and pay the cashier directly.”
Brown also encourages all drivers to constantly check their bank statements.
There is also proposed legislation asking that the penalty be increased for installing credit card skimmers.
The following bills have been filed in the Texas Legislature relating to card skimmers: