Bluetooth skimmers help criminals avoid detection at the pump

Skimmers can pull pin numbers as well card data via bluetooth.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) — When it comes to skimmers at the gas pump, we've been trained to check the outside of the card reader, but never the inside.

You're probably familiar with the typical skimmers at the gas pump, the ones that fit over the front of a debit/credit card reader, that you typically can check by pulling on it.

Now criminals are putting skimmers inside the machines so you can't see them, according to community relations officer with the Hot Springs Police Department, Joey Williams. 

“It's hooked up in series with my cables on the card reader logic board, it grabs card data and pin numbers,” he said. 

Williams said last Thursday they took a report from the Hot Springs Valero on Central Avenue where workers found two Bluetooth skimmers.

“It's a new kind of skimmer that we have not seen before and that's the first two we've actually ever seen in Hot Springs and they utilize Bluetooth to transmit debit card and credit card transactions to transmit to a receiver,” he said. 

Officer Williams said you can protect yourself from these devices using Bluetooth on your phone. 

“Go to Bluetooth settings on your phone and look for discoverable items. If a skimming device is being used on a pump it'll show up on your Bluetooth settings and it could indicate there's possibly a skimming device on that pump,” he said. 

 

The skimmers Bluetooth name is usually a long list of numbers and letters, so that's what you should be looking for to pop up on your Bluetooth list. 

He said you can also check for skimmers with seals.

“These seals if you pull on it will show void open across the tag so if you pull up to a pump and it has void open on the seal it is possible the pump has been tampered with,” Williams said. 

The Hot Springs Police Department is urging people to check their credit and debit card statements for any fraudulent activity. They said their officers are currently checking stations around the city.

© 2018 KTHV-TV


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