Look Before You Swipe

Whether it’s on a gas pump, an ATM machine or anything else that allows on site payment, authorities always recommend the public look for loose parts, broken seals or anything that doesn’t seem right before using a card. If something is spotted, notify police and the store.

A gas station along U.S. 59 in El Campo has been targeted by would-be credit card thieves again.

Police are hoping, however, that they were able to recover the device commonly known as a skimmer before thieves could collect the data.

The device was found on the pumps at Pincher’s Express, 23320 U.S. 59, by an employee on Tuesday, Jan. 7. It’s believed the skimmer had only been on the pump between midnight and 9 a.m. that day.

The U.S. 59 corridor and other major highways are more often targeted by credit card thieves than other sites due to the high traffic and accessibility.

“Most of it is coming out of Houston. It’s more convenient for them,” El Campo police Lt. Russell Urban said.

A skimming device typically records card access information as normal transactions are made. In most cases, the device must be recovered for the thief to actually use the data.

Skimmers have been found at several locations in El Campo including banks and gas stations over the last two years.

Some attach directly to the credit card slot. Others are placed inside the casing of a gas pump.

“If you approach a machine and it appears something has been attached to the scanner, do not use it ... call the police,” El Campo Police Chief Terry Stanphill told the newspaper in an earlier interview.

Residents can check whether the credit card slide looks firmly attached, if any seals are broken or anything else unusual.

Anyone who believes they have been the victim of identity theft should contact their card representatives and the police department.

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