NORTHFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJBK) - The Northfield Township Police Department says it found and removed a credit card skimmer from a gas station on Wednesday.
The police department said Thursday that it had found a credit card skimmer on a gas pump at the Marathon on Main Street on Wednesday. The skimmer was on the pump for an unknown amount of time before police were able to remove it from the pump.
According to Northfield Township Police, they don't believe it caused any credit card information to become compromised. Police said the skimmer was removed without incident.
Credit card skimmers, which can't typically be seen from outside the pump, can be installed in seconds. Criminals use keys to open the pumps quickly, insert the skimmers, and then leave. The skimmers copy the consumer's card information for criminals to make fraudulent purchases.
Last fall, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), inspected thousand of pumps statewide for skimmers. At that point, the MDARD reported finding 70 skimmers in the past year alone throughout the state.
It's a tough crime to crackdown on. When workers find the skimmers, they take them out. But unless the criminals are caught in the act, it's tough to prosecute.
The Michigan House introduced a bill that would require stations to use pressure sensitive tape over the panel, encrypt the credit information, or install a device that shuts the pump down if the control panel is tampered with.
The bill never made it out of committee.
To protect yourself, take the following steps:
- Inspect the area near the PIN pad. It should be flush and should match the color of the machine.
- Check other pumps around your or ATM readers to see if they look the same.
- Trust your gut. If you think it's off, use a different one.
- Avoid using your PIN at the gas pump. The skimmer operator could get your card number AND your PIN.
- Check your accounts. Make sure you don't have any purchases you don't recognize.
A previous version of this story stated that the gas station was in Northville. We regret the error.