Card skimmers, stolen numbers reported at Ind. gas stations

LAKE STATION, Ind. (WLS) -- Beware at the gas pump: A search is underway for a man wanted for using a skimming device to steal credit card information at pumps in northwest Indiana.

A swipe of the card. That's all it takes for someone to get their hands on your credit card info, and thieves are now increasingly targeting gas station pumps, including a Lake Station, Ind., BP, where investigators believe a skimming device was placed to obtain people's card numbers, which were then used to make purchases in other municipalities.

"It's the last place I would think it would get stolen. I would think more so online," said Amanda Brownfield.

Close to a dozen people have now reported their information compromised after using their cards at one gas station. Its manager said they checked all the pumps and didn't find any devices. Investigators aren't surprised.

"It takes these individuals literally seconds with the proper tools, keys to enter a gas pump, place the device in there, and no one would be none the wiser," said Lt. James Gonzales, Hobart police.

Skimming devices can be placed inside a pump or externally just on top of the card reader.

"If they had a skimming device on here, you'd pull it, and it would come right off. It just sits right on there," Gonzales said. "You want to make sure the locking mechanisms are in order. Make sure there is no damage to them... give the front face a pull to make sure it's not open... Some gas stations use seals... you want to make sure the security tape is not damaged."

And while some drivers were surprised by the con, others said for them, identity theft has just become another nuisance to be dealt with.

"Anytime you use your credit card there's a chance you'll get hacked," said Sheila Brownfield. "I don't know the solution. But you keep using them because it's a way of life."
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