Bryan police are asking anyone who may have been a victim of credit card fraud after using gas pumps at a store on East 29th Street to come forward after skimmers were found Monday morning.
According to Bryan police, credit card skimmers were found on two gas pumps at the Circle K store at 4609 E. 29th St. Store employees called authorities around 9 a.m. Monday after finding the devices, which steal a customer’s credit card information. The devices may have been placed on the pumps between closing Sunday night and Monday morning.
Bryan police spokeswoman Officer Kelley McKethan said as of Tuesday afternoon, the department had yet to receive any reports of fraud suspected from these particular pumps. She said while authorities do occasionally receive fraud reports where the victim suspects a skimmer, McKethan noted it can often be difficult for investigators to determine whether money from a credit card account was taken from a skimmer or somewhere else.
“The majority of credit card abuse cases we see are stolen cards, or situations where maybe the suspect wrote down [the victim’s] number as they were using their card.”
Those who used the gas pumps closest to the Redbox movie rental station at the Circle K are asked to check their bank accounts, police said, and report any fraudulent activity to police at 979-209-5301 or 979-361-3888.
While McKethan didn’t have specific statistics on skimmer cases in Bryan, she confirmed that other skimmers have been found in town over the past year.
“Some skimmers are mounted on the interior of a machine or the exterior,” she said. “Skimmers on ATM machines often go right over where the credit card enters, whereas with gas pumps the skimmer can be placed deeper on the inside of the machine.”
Brenham police have also recently dealt with a skimmers after authorities responded to a Valero on Texas 105. Authorities said on May 29, one skimmer — which has since been removed — was located inside a gas pump.
State Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller created a safety video in August 2017 that gives consumers in Texas tips for staying safe from skimmer scams. Some of these tips include:
• When at a gas station, one should use a gas pump positioned where the clerk inside the store has a clear line of sight.
• Customers should always ask for a
receipt in case one’s identity is stolen.
• One should check for damage to a gas pump’s card reader and cabinet panel. Most panels with a card reader will have a seal. If the seal is broken, it may indicate the pump has been tampered with.
• Gas station customers can check for tampering by jiggling a credit card reader. If the reader is loose, a skimmer may be present.
• Many skimmers operate using Bluetooth. Customers with smartphones can enter their phone’s settings and turn on the Bluetooth function, which should search the area for Bluetooth feed. An unexpected Bluetooth signal, particularly one labeled with random numbers, may indicate a skimmer’s nearby presence.
• One should use their credit card instead of a debit card while at the gas pumps, as to prevent scammers from gaining direct access to a checking account.
In addition to contacting one’s local police department, anyone who suspects a skimmer has been placed over a card reader can contact the Texas Department of Agriculture by calling 1-800-TELL-TDA.