DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) –Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith said Friday no skimmers were found in a recent sweep of gas pumps.
Keith said in a release he ordered a countywide sweep for illegal credit card skimming devices at gas pumps ahead of the Labor Day weekend and no skimming devices were discovered.
Keith said his weights and measures inspectors checked more than 450 gas pumps at more than 50 gas stations for skimming devices during the sweep. Inspectors will be performing regular pump inspections throughout the county the rest of the summer and will continue to search for skimmers during these checks.
“The threat of credit card skimmers is real, it is ongoing, and it needs to be taken seriously,” said Keith. “Labor Day travelers should take the proper measures to protect themselves when they are at the pump, such as by using a credit card rather than a debit card, or by paying with cash.”
Credit card skimming has become increasingly prevalent in the state. More than 100 devices have been found in Ohio gas pumps since 2015, Keith said. During a sweep in April, five credit card skimmers were found in Montgomery County. This instance marked the most skimmers ever publicly found over a three-day period in a single county in Ohio.
The growing skimming crime has attracted the attention of federal law enforcement. The FBI has indicated that stopping this crime is one of their top priorities here in Ohio and agents from the FBI have worked with Keith on several skimmer sweeps this summer.
“Consumers should not be worried, but they should be cautious and vigilant while filling up at the pump,” Keith said. “If you witness suspicious activity, do not hesitate to contact the authorities.”
Keith recommends consumers take the following measures to protect their financial information from skimmers:
- Pay with cash. It’s the safest option.
- Use a credit card rather than a debit card when using plastic. It’s easier to challenge fraudulent charges when a credit card is used.
- Use pumps closest to the attendant, as criminals often target the pumps farther away.
- Monitor bank and credit card statements frequently.
- Report anything that indicates a pump has been tampered with.
Anyone who is interested in learning more about how to protect themselves from the skimming crime can visit Keith’s Stop Skimmers webpage at www.mcohio.org/StopSkimmers.