RANCHO CUCAMONGA (CBSLA.com) — Thieves are stealing financial information when customers swipe their cards at Inland Empire gas stations.
At least three gas stations in Rancho Cucamonga have been targeted in the scam, according to a sheriff’s detective.
Authorities showed KCAL9’s Greg Mills how thieves insert a skimming device inside the pump. Credit card details are automatically downloaded when a customer swipes their card. The device can store information from as many as 2,400 credit cards.
“This is the first time I’ve heard about it,” said Rancho Cucamonga resident Ray Vazquez, while he was filling his tank.
Another city resident, who didn’t want to be identified, said her credit card information was stolen from a gas pump transaction: “It took me three years to get that straightened out.”
She said that she’s more careful how she uses her credit cards. Now, she only pays for gas with cash.
A sheriff’s detective said that’s the best way to avoid becoming a victim.
The detective warned against using your credit card at gas stations whose pumps have plastic-covered keypads with flat numbers. Investigators said stations with these types of keypads are where skimmers are doing big business. They get inside the pump and are able to put the skimming device next to the card reader and keypad.
It’s harder for thieves to steal from pumps with raised-number key pads because the credit card information is encrypted, and the card reader is separate from the key pad. Investigators found that skimmers get inside the pump and are able to put the skimming device next to the card reader and keypad, using Velcro to hold it in place.
Officials have told gas station owners to check inside their pumps.
“[A detective] told us to check them frequently. I have a kid who’s gonna check them about once a week,” gas station employee Henry Mijalco said.
Authorities have arrested two people in the skimming scam and say there are many more people involved.
RELATED STORY: Credit Card ‘Skimmer’ Found At 2nd Gas Station In Sierra Madre