Card skimmer found on Baton Rouge gas pump, federal investigation started
POSTED: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 5:13pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 12:38pm
Baton Rouge, La (NBC33) — Federal investigators are looking for answers after a credit card skimmer was found on a pump at a Baton Rouge gas station.
It's the first find of its kind ever in Louisiana.
Investigators say the skimmer was inside the gas pump at the Raceway on Bluebonnet Blvd. for at least two weeks, which means thieves could have the card numbers of hundreds of people that could have put their card in this machine.
It starts as a simple swipe, but within seconds, thieves use a skimming device - either attached to the card reader or even inside the pump.
While you're getting gas, someone's already made off with your credit card information; that's exactly what happened here for at least two weeks.
Resident agent in charge Lou Velez is with the U.S. Secret Service. His office is looking into this crime, and he says it's too soon to know how many people for sure were victimized.
“The keywords are “could be compromised”; we don't know…we’ll have to see what data it can capture and hold,” stated Velez.
But in the meantime, he says it's important to make sure no one else is a victim in case this turns up somewhere else in Baton Rouge.
That means checking account balances, and having stores match credit cards with ID's, something that doesn't happen so often anymore.
“We live in a pretty hustle and bustle world today. It’s mobile – everything’s fast and convenient - and when you have that recipe, it’s tough to fit what's needed inside of it.”
Agent Velez, along with Jim Stalls of the BBB says that's the key to not becoming a victim, and that this could happen anywhere.
“Louisiana is not going to be protected from this type of scam,” said Stalls. “They can come up anywhere, and Baton Rouge happened to be the place they picked.”
Skimmers have been around since 1992.
They've been found on ATMs, even at parking garages, and in most cases, they'd be on the outside of the card reader.
This one was inside the pump. That doesn't mean people at the station put it in there, but what it does mean is even if you look at the reader before using you're card, you could still be a victim.
The Secret Service tells NBC they're investigation is continuing, and there are ways to find whoever's responsible.