NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Credit card thieves have a new way to steal from you at the gas pump. The scheme is a twist on skimming instead of inserting a gadget on top of the card reader to copy your information.
High-tech crooks have built a device that's impossible to spot because it's hidden inside the pump.
North Texas drivers who stopped at gas stations to fill up had no way of knowing they were being ripped off.
But police say some creative thieves used a universal key to open gas pumps and placed electronic skimmers inside where they remained hidden for months until police closed in.
The gadgets wirelessly transmitted credit and debit card numbers even personal identification numbers with nobody knowing.
Detective John Haecker says "it was very high-tech. It involved thousands of victims spread all over North Texas.."
Detective John Haecker of the Euless Police Department spent months helping the U.S. Secret Service investigate the scheme which targeted gas stations all over North Texas.
It was so lucrative, police say 51-year-old Aleksandr Goukasian and at least two others flew from los angeles all the way to north Texas to cash in.
They easily cloned the cards, police say and at ATM's, they were as good as the real thing.
Goukasian pleaded guilty last week in a deal with federal prosecutors he also faces additional state charges the other suspects have not been arrested.
Detectives are tight-lipped about how they finally cracked the case, saying they want to keep their secrets for the next group of high-tech crooks.