ATM skimmers are a common device used by scammers to steal your bank account infowhen you use an ATM. Now, fraudsters have adapted the technology to rip you off at the gas pump.
Most of us assume it’s safe to use our ATM cards when paying for gas, which is exactly why scammers in Oklahoma were able to steal so much money using skimmer technology at gas stations.
Let’s talk a bit more about this new scam, and what you can do to make sure your personal information stays safe:
A New Twist on an Old Scam
Using a tool called a skimmer to steal ATM information isn’t new. The technology has been around for a while, usually as a machine that’s added to a credit card reader. With this device, thieves can steal the information and PIN numbers from any ATM card used at that machine. Then, the thieves can gain access to the victims’ bank accounts.
In Oklahoma, two criminals named Kevin Konstantinov and Elvin Alisuretove were caught using skimming technology to steal ATM card information from consumers using the gas pump at various Murphy’s filling station locations.
Scary stuff, especially when considering that many consumers don’t think twice about pulling out the old ATM card to pay for gas. It’s convenient, most of the time.
Huge Haul for Gas Pump Fraudsters
The two Oklahoma-based scammers were eventually caught, but not before they made off with a whole bunch of money. Gizmodo has a little more info:
“…a new series of scams operat[ing] out of Oklahoma…saw thieves take home $400,000 before they were caught.”
How were they able to get away with so much money? Mainly, it was the new methods the thieves used to steal it.
New, high-tech ATM card skimmers can actually be configured to “set it and forget it.” Using bluetooth-enabled technology, these machines then transmit information to a local receiver, meaning a thief can set up a skimming device and then never return, collecting information as long as the skimmer is attached to the card reader.
The Oklahoma gas pump skimmers remained in place for nearly two months, during which time they collected a ton of information that allowed the thieves to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Keep Your Bank Account Safe
Since skimmers have to be physically added onto an ATM or card reader to work, make sure you examine the machine carefully before you swipe your card or enter your PIN. If something seems strange, avoid the machine and alert the authorities.
Do you have any tips for avoiding this type of scam? Let us know in the comments.
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