By Audrey Bailey
Carmel area residents may want to think twice before using a credit or debit card at their local gas station.
In recent weeks, several cases of credit card fraud have been reported to Carmel police. These incidents occurred at a local gas station where a small, card-reading device called a skimmer had been placed inside one of the gas pump machines.
These digital readers are installed using some type of key, and then, likely after a station closes, the suspects return to remove the skimmer and collect the data.
“It appears that everything is working normal on the machine, but the information is being stored in a skimmer until it’s retrieved and then hooked up to a laptop to try to recover those 16-digit numbers,” said Lt. Joe Bickel of the Carmel Police Dept.
Bickel said that suspects might target gas stations that close as well as stations that do not have surveillance cameras installed. So far, Carmel police have been able to gather a few leads regarding possible suspects.
“It’s probably involving more than just one or two people,” Bickel said. “It’s probably a group of individuals that we’re targeting to try and get more information on.”
At this time, the location of the gas station is not being disclosed. Bickel, however, had some words of advice and caution for Carmel residents who plan on paying at the pump.
“A simple thing to do is to be vigilant; make sure you’re reviewing your credit card statements, making sure all the credit card charges are correct,” he said. “If there is a charge, obviously notify your credit card company as soon as possible and contact the local police department. That way, we can investigate what we need to investigate on our side.”