SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) Sarasota police officers are taking a proactive approach to stop gas station credit card skimmers. It’s a problem that’s rampant in the Tampa Bay area.
Three skimming devices were found in the Sarasota in just the past few weeks.
“I don’t want to give (the crooks) too much credit, but they’re pretty good at their craft,” Sarasota Police Sgt. Johnathan Todd said.
Officers are tired of these hidden skimmers stealing sensitive data. They’ve taken a more hands-on approach, meeting with gas station owners to pry open the pumps and look for them.
“These (crooks) are people that have nothing else to do but sit at home and figure out ways to steal money from hard working people,” Sgt. Todd said.
Officers will be helping these stations regularly because the problem is getting worse. “In rare instances, they’re able to utilize Bluetooth technology to get real-time data off those skimmers,” Sgt. Todd said.
Many gas pumps have stickers to alert you if someone has broken inside. “Make sure this seal right here is closed and not cut open,” gas station clerk Cinthia Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez and her team check these pumps multiple times a day. If they spot a seal that is broken, they will shut the pump down and call the authorities.
But some thieves figure out other ways to get in. One gas station manager told 8 On Your Side crooks will create a copy of a master key so that they can simply open up the panel door.
That’s why police are now checking themselves. It’s an effort to stay one step ahead and catch these crooks.
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