As the summer travel season nears, Steuben County officials are on guard against a high-tech scam to steal people’s financial information.
“It isn’t a big problem here, yet,” said county Weights and Measures/Consumer Affairs Director Langdon Holmes. “But it can become a big problem, fast.”
The scam, known as “skimming,” happens when a thief places a device inside the credit card reader at gasoline stations, convenience stores and ATMs at night. The fake device allows the transaction to go through but records all the cardholder’s personal information.
The device steals bank, credit and other personal details and provides the information to the thief, either after the device is retrieved, or through Bluetooth and cellular technology. The devices are available online, Holmes said.
“The best way to avoid skimming?” Holmes said. “Pay with cash or go inside to pay. Or get a fleet fueling card like the Kwik Fill rewards card or Mobil Speed Pass. Most major gas companies offer the fueling cards now.”
Convenience stores, gasoline stations and banks also are aware of the scam and working to prevent the fraud, he said.
Holmes and his staff check every gasoline station in the county once a year to ensure the pumps’ accuracy and check for skimming devices. The county department also performs random spot checks throughout the year.
“If someone thinks there’s a problem, they should call us, immediately,” Holmes said. “We will go out and inspect it, and if it is a problem we close down the pump immediately and notify the Steuben County Sheriff.”
The Steuben Weights and Measures Department can be reached at (607) 664-2406.