Don’t pay at the pump: Travis Co. sheriff urging customers to go inside

The owner of the C-Mart at 3008 W. Slaughter Ln., which is a Shell station, said they found a possible skimmer in one of their pumps on Aug. 16, 2017. (KXAN Photo/Kyle Kovilaritch)
The owner of the C-Mart at 3008 W. Slaughter Ln., which is a Shell station, said they found a possible skimmer in one of their pumps on Aug. 16, 2017. (KXAN Photo/Kyle Kovilaritch)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Credit card skimming has become such a rampant problem that the Travis County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging everyone to go inside and pay instead of paying at the pump.

Capt. Craig Smith says the crime has become so prevalent because the suspects can easily get their hands on the skimming devices on the internet.

The suspects are also using Bluetooth technology to make it even easier for them to access the stolen information quickly. Smith’s message echoes that of Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who released a public service announcement over the summer showing people how suspects use Bluetooth to get your information. 

While it’s an inconvenience, Smith says the safest way to protect your credit card information is to go inside the store and pay. “I know it takes away from the convenience of pay-at-the-pump 100 percent, but right now, that’s the only way that we know that you can avoid — and be sure that you’re avoiding your credit card being skimmed,” Smith explains.

In most of the cases, the department has come across, the suspects tend to use the stolen credit card information to clone credit cards to use to purchase diesel fuel.

In a recent initiative to crack down on credit card skimmers, TCSO has arrested two suspects in connection with stolen credit card information.

“We do know that the number of credit cards that have been skimmed that have been reported to us has gone down since this initiative started,” says Smith. “So I’m hoping that some of the arrests we’re making are having a significant impact on that.”

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