WPCNR BUNCO TIMES. From the Westchester County Department of Communications. June 17, 2019 UPDATED JUNE 19, 2019:
One skimmer device has been found in Westchester County in the last six months. And 7 gasoline credit card skimming devices have been found at Westchester gas stations in 21 months. Across New York State, 52 credit card skimmers have been discovered since September of 2017, according to Joseph Sgammato of the Westchester County Department of Communications
Inspectors from the Westchester County Department of Consumer Protection – Weights and Measures found a high tech “skimming” device inside a gasoline pump in Elmsford during the week of June 3.
A “skimmer” records the credit and debit card information from anyone using a gasoline pump. This information is then sold online to would-be scammers. This particular device was also able to record the zip code and pin numbers of anyone using the pump.
County Executive George Latimer said: “This device was hidden inside a gas pump and would never be seen by a driver visiting that gas station to fill up, but thanks to the work of our Consumer Protection Department, it was found. Westchester County Government is hard at work to help ensure that you don’t fall victim to one of these consumer traps.”
Consumer Protection Director Jim Maisano said:
“Looking for skimmers is a priority for our inspectors during our routine annual inspections of gas stations. We do our best to protect consumers each day, but this incident reinforces the need for consumers to regularly review credit and bank statements, as well as checking their credit reports at least on an annual basis. The criminals involved in these types of scams are aggressive, and we strongly urge consumers to be careful with personal information and to contact our office if they do become a victim of a scam.”
A “skimmer” is often installed when a gasoline station is closed and can be placed inside a gas pump in less than a minute. It is a cellular/SIM Card type skimmer that blends in easily with the other pump components, which makes it difficult to spot.
There are 375 gas stations in the county.
The Inspectors who identified this skimmer contacted the Westchester County Department of Public Safety Investigations Unit, who removed the device, and also contacted the New York State Bureau of Weights and Measures which liaisons with the FBI office in Albany.
Mr. Sgammato added that “many station operators do inspect (their gas pumps) themselves. Others don’t. The county informs every operator about skimmers.”
He said it is not always easy to spot a skim card: “Not always the case. You need to know what to look for. Sometimes maintenance companies will find them. The discover was part of an annual inspection of pumps. We do participate in state-wide skimmer enforcement actions.”