In the span of 48 hours authorities have discovered credit card “skimmers” at four separate Palm Coast gas stations. Skimmers are portable scanning devices inserted into pumps or ATM machines. The devices read credit card information, leading to fraud off the credit cards being read. The problem has been intensifying recently as skimmers have become easier and smaller to produce–and as gas stations have until October to update pumps with card readers that accommodate chip technology, which is harder to defraud.
No suspects have been found, and as of Thursday afternoon, “we do not yet have surveillance video from any of the stores,” a sheriff’s spokesperson said. “They are working on trying to get some.”
Joseph Scobbo Jr., a state Agriculture and Consumer Protection specialist, told a deputy he’d received a report that a customer used the fuel pump at the Kangaroo location on at 1201 Palm Harbor Parkway on May 31 and again on July 13. The customer then noticed that immediately after those transactions, someone defrauded her credit card.
That was the telltale sign of a skimmer. When Scobbo got to the Kangaroo station, he noticed that the security tape on all of the fuel pumps were broken. Further inspecting the pumps, he detected two credit card bluetooth skimming devices, one on Pump #1, one on Pump #2.
The skimming devices were removed and seized and logged into the sheriff’s evidence. An employee at the store told a deputy she had no knowledge of the skimming devices, and that a manager on duty usually checks the security tape. She was unclear whether surveillance video would be available.
The next day, on July 19, similar reports of skimming emerged at three more Palm Coast gas stations as Scobbo continued his inspections.
One was at the 7-Eleven at 220 Palm Coast Parkway. A skimmer was found at gas Pump #8. (Scobbo himself, not being a law enforcement officer, requested a deputy to remove the device and place it into evidence.)
A few hours later, another skimming device was detected at the BP station at 1755 Palm Harbor Parkway. The same style of skimmer found previously was found on Pump #7. A store clerk told a sheriff’s deputy “she would review the security video for any suspicious activity at that pump, but due to the time delay since the pumps were last checked it could take some time.”
The third skimmer that day was detected at the Shell station at 320 Palm Coast Parkway, on pumps #3 and #4.The last time Scobbo had inspected the pumps there was in February 2017. The clerk informed a deputy that there are no security cameras in the area of the gas pumps.
“If you have utilized any of these four gas stations in Palm Coast, or any gas station, it is imperative that you check you bank card or credit card statement to make sure you do not have fraudulent charges on your account,” Sheriff Rick Staly was quoted as saying in a release his office issued this afternoon. “If you notice anything suspicious, you should contact your bank or credit card company immediately.”
The Sheriff’s Office’s advice: In order to prevent being the victim of credit card skimming, take a close look at the gas pump before inserting a credit card. If anything looks loose or cracked, or like a device has been added to the card reader, do not use that pump. Choose the pumps closest to the store when possible. Crooks often choose pumps that aren’t in the direct line of sight to the gas station’s employees. Use credit cards rather than debit cards that require a PIN number. Credit cards have better fraud protection, and the money is not deducted immediately from an account. And, for the most protection, pay cash inside of the store.
Stores have anti teft devices on merchandise. Why pumps and ATM machines don’t have something similar installed to protect the customers? Is merchandise more valuable than a customer’s financial integrity?
Everyone needs to avtivate the alerts for their credit and debit cards. I get a alert every time a charge is made to my credit card or money is withdrawn from debit card
Steven wood. says
Why after all these years the pumps so easily accessible to get inside. They know it happens so it should be fixed so no one can get to the reader inside without taking the pump apart. Not drive up and just hook it up. I look for the tape and I will grab the slider if either one us been messed with I’ll leave.
Oh Boy I pump gas at the Shell. Got to check my cc statements.
Several years ago that happened to me here and the fraud in my 2 cards was for like $3,000 that was cleared by the card company. There were charges from Tampa FL and NY.
Tom hodgin says
Sounds like an inside job to me…they know where when and how to avoid detection. ..imo
we got skimmed at the gas station on old kings road next to the econo lodge-near cracker barrel on the 3rd of july..they need to check that one too
Ahh PC The bastion of crime idiocy and buffoonery
I had my bank account trashed a while back in Palm Coast from using my debit card at a gas station. I never paid at the pump again, I go inside. But later, it happened again from using my debit card at a well known St Augustine restaurant. I have not used my debit card since. I use a credit card with a small credit line to minimize risk.
Someone needs to check the Mobile gas station on US 1. My card info has been skimmed from there and every time I go in there, there is another costumer complaining that they have been skimmed also. One poor man has been got 4 different times in 4 different cards at this same station. When you tell the owner about it. He gets really defensive and denies it 100% and says no not at his station.
Ken Dodge says
“And, for the most protection, pay cash inside of the store.” Of course.
I take advantage of Publix promotion of gas cards. You get $50 worth of gas by paying $40 when you buy $50 worth of groceries.
NO PERSONAL DATA ON THE CARD!.
Very few retailers care aboout your financial data security.
I pay cash in resraurants. In rrestaurants you loose control of your card when paying your bill.
A good rule of thumb. . . find a good credit card and have it “automatically” paid in full out of your checking account at the end of every month. If your credit card is scammed in some way. . . you will only lose a maximum of $50.00. Do NOT use your “debit” card unless absolutely necessary. If you MUST use a debit card, keep a bare minimum in your checking account, and DO NOT link it to any other account.
This from Find Law:
Liability for Unauthorized use of ATM and Debit Cards
If you have lost your ATM or debit card, or if it has been stolen, it is very important to notify your bank as soon as possible. By doing so, you will minimize the amount of liability you will have for any unauthorized use of these cards. In the case of ATM and debit cards, the Electronic Fund Transfer Act sets forth the rules. Under the EFTA, your liability for lost or stolen ATM or debit cards is:
$0 if you are able to report your lost or stolen ATM or debit card immediately and before the card has been used;
$50 or less, depending upon the amount that has been used, if you report your card lost or stolen within two business days;
$500 or less, depending upon the amount that has been used, if you do not report your card lost or stolen within two business days, but you do report it within 60 days after your bank statement is issued that shows the unauthorized use; or
Any amount if you fail to notify the bank of your lost or stolen card within 60 days after your bank statement is used that shows the unauthorized use.
Mobile on US1 is next. Guaranteed
I always pay with cash.
Hold the owners of the stations accountable, and this will stop. We do not need to be the fraud capital of the world. We just need more accountability. Also, use cash instead of credit, and many things will improve.
Marianne Michaels says
On Friday 6/23/17 my daughter’s card (chip card) was skimmed at the new Racetrac station on route 100. The bank picked it up immediately, fortunately. I don’t see that station included in the list, hopefully it was discovered & investigated.
Bring your lazy behinds inside the store. Its amazing that people still swipe their card at the pump.
Got me at the Mobile on US1 and SR305 about 2 weeks ago. It was used at a Wawa in Orlando for $100.00.
I guess the criminals in the area haven’t gotten the memo yet that’s there’s a new Sheriff’s in town now and plenty of vacancies at the Green Roof Inn. So ask yourselves one question dirt bags…do ya feel lucky?
Shannon Webster says
I use my business card for gas purchases only. I have set up alerts online with Visa so they notifies me immediately by text of all transactions when the card is used. Within a one month period, my credit card was compromised two times while purchasing gas at the Race Track gas station on Palm Coast Parkway next to PNC Bank. I called after the first incident and spoke with a very sympathetic female employee who stated that this had happened before just recently at that store. She said that I should come in and talk to the manager. The next day I did just that and he just pretty much blew me off saying that all the tapes were secure and that it was not his pumps fault and that he couldn’t help it if someone may be sitting in a car with a portable scanner. Both times I used the pumps furtherest away from the store. I just stopped going there and instead I went to the Shell station on Palm Coast Parkway! LOL…I was lucky there I guess since the article above states that it was also one of the gas stations that skimmers were also found on.
The pump manufactures need to make these pumps harder to open and why not a “door alarm”, if the scanner door is opened.
I thought the new “chip” technology was supposed to prevent all this. I pay cash now. I do agree that the pumps need some upgrades, badly.
Gas Station on A1A in Hammock got me last year twice
This is why I never buy or cash lottery tickets at gas stations either. If they are skimming credit cards at the pumps, they are scamming the lottery tickets as well–You can count on it. It’s all a set-up and can’t be this widespread without some inside help. There must be a manual floating around out there, detailing how to conduct these scams. It will only stop when the owners of these places lose their own ability to sell product. Hit THEM in the pocketbook and things may change.
Stephani Hernandez says
We need an infographic with those stations on a map so we don’t all have to go map them all to figure out if we used them. :)
I got skimmed at the shell on palm coast pkwy twice within 2 months and told the workers inside … it was the 2 nd pump the sprit one for the high school!!!
Always look for the tape, it can be duplicated though, but %ages say you shouldn’t lose sleep over it, banks are good at catching them. And they ( at least Wells Fargo) returned my bad charges within 30 mins and it was a debit card, not sure where people are getting that ur only covered with.credit cards,
I was skimmed at the Kangaroo on Old Kings and Palm Coast Pkwy next to McDonalds. They then used my card 3 times in Orlando.
Carolyn Stack says
I think the gas stations need to set 24/7 security cameras on all their pumps, 30 day save on the tapes. This is not a new problem, just on going. If you know you are being targeted, then you should take the precautions. Costly to businesses but priceless to customers. It is very difficult for a consumer whether local or transit to detect a tampered pump, but it should always be the businesses priority to protect their customers and integrity of their store. It might actually catch the skimmers.
I got skimmed at the plantation BP in Bunnell off of i-95. I have a feeling it was someone just sitting there, it seemed like a desolate place, a lone pizza place on the gas station. Someone took my info at this BP and the got gas in Titusville and Merritt Island, both at Shell Stations.
Why not make the gas station / mgr accountable if they cannot prove they have inspected the pumps than fine them. If their pockets are effected I’m sure they will start doing their jobs to ensure ours will not be.