AUSTIN (KXAN) — In the past week, the Travis County Sheriff’s Office has discovered multiple illegal devices used to steal credit card information, known as credit card skimmers, concealed at two gas stations throughout the Austin-area.
Detectives found two skimmers at one gas station in Wells Branch and at one station on on Highway 71 in Southwest Travis County. Roger Wade, a spokesperson for the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, says the department is not putting the word out about specific stations in order to protect the businesses’ reputations.
Wade says the department inspected about 60 gas stations within the county in a proactive search effort to discover the skimming devices. While deputies did not locate any skimmers initially, they left business owners with information about what to look for. Since that time, the department found three illegal devices, at least one of which the department attributes to the outreach to the stations.
Skimmers are mostly internal devices that work off Bluetooth, which requires the suspects to come back to download the illegally obtained card information.
To avoid being a victim of credit card theft, consumers are urged to pay inside and to notify the gas station if the card reader is loose, which could potentially mean the device has been tampered with. Wade also advises against the use of debit cards at the pump, as scammers are able to obtain pin numbers and drain individual accounts.