The gadgets collect credit or debit card information — then feed it back to criminals — when customers swipe a card.
Deputies are urging anyone who's used a card to pay for gas at Palm Coast gas stations to check their card statements for fraud: Law enforcement officers have found digital "skimming devices" on local fuel pumps.
The "skimmers," inserted into the card-reading machines by crooks, collect customers' credit and debit card information. The thieves then use that information to make fraudulent purchases on the customers' accounts.
The first device was discovered by Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services consumer protection specialist Joseph Scobbo. He'd gotten a complaint from a woman who'd noticed fraudulent charges on her credit card account shortly after she'd used her card to pay for gas at the Kangaroo Express at 1201 Palm Harbor Parkway, at the corner of Palm Harbor Parkway and Frontier Drive, according to a Flagler County Sheriff's Office case report.
Scobbo went to the gas station and checked the pumps. The security tape on each of the fuel pumps was broken, and Scobbo found two credit card Bluetooth skimming devices inside.
Checking other gas stations, Scobbo found more devices: at the 7-Eleven at 220 A Palm Coast Parkway NE, near the Island Walk shopping center entrance; the BP gas station at 1755 Palm Harbor Parkway, at the intersection of Palm Harbor Parkway and Fellowship Drive; and at the Shell gas station at 320 Palm Coast Parkway NE, at the intersection of Palm Coast Parkway and Clubhouse Drive.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services notified the Sheriff's Office, and the two agencies are inspecting all area gas pumps for skimming devices, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.
“If you have utilized any of these four gas stations in Palm Coast, or any gas station, it is imperative that you check you bank card or credit card statement to make sure you do not have fraudulent charges on your account,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in the news release. “If you notice anything suspicious, you should contact your bank or credit card company immediately.”