Public Safety

Cedar Rapids Police warns of card skimmers

One found at Cedar Rapids convenience store

A skimming device found on the inside of a gas pump. Photo from the Cedar Rapids Police Department.
A skimming device found on the inside of a gas pump. Photo from the Cedar Rapids Police Department.

Cedar Rapids police investigated an incident last week in which a skimming device was found on the inside of a gas pump at a convenience store in northeast Cedar Rapids and are now offering advice on how to avoid the devices.

According to a news release, the suspects of last week’s case gained access to the electronics inside the pump where a skimmer was placed on the wiring of the credit card reader. When a customer inserts their debit or credit card inside the card slot, account information is collected and stored on the skimming device. The thieves will retrieve the skimmer later or access remotely through a wireless device to download the account information.

The release states that many convenience stores and gas stations place security tape over the gas pump panels that allow access to the inside electronics.

If you see that the security seal tape has been broken, CRPD advices that you do not use the gas pump and report it to the store. Some businesses have also installed alarms on their gas pumps.

The Police Department recommends that you frequently check your bank or credit card statement to see if there have been any unauthorized transactions.

According to the release, thieves normally set up their skimming devices out of sight of the convenience store or gas station attendants. Typically, skimming devices are found on the pumps furthest away from the front door of the business. You may also decrease your likelihood of being victimized by paying for gasoline inside the gas station or convenience store.

Traditional skimming devices often found on Automated Teller Machines are placed right over the card reader. Consumers should be suspicious of a card reader that looks out of place, mismatched, or loose. A skimming device is often a different color than the rest of the machine.

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