SIDNEY — On Thursday and Friday this week Shelby County Auditor Amy Berning joined over 60 other county auditors from across the state to launch a “Skimmer Sweep” over the Labor Day Weekend to protect holiday travelers from illegal credit card skimmers.
Berning reported Friday no skimmers were found in Shelby County. They opened up and inspected 156 pumps between the two days.
More than 80 weights and measures inspectors visited more than 1,500 gas stations at targeted locations, checking more than 12,000 Ohio gas pumps for the devices.
So far statewide, four skimmers have been discovered during the sweep. They were found in Fulton, Greene, Erie, and Sandusky Counties.
At least 30 skimming devices have been found in Ohio gas pumps since last October. Most have been found in southwest Ohio and along the Interstate 75 corridor, although the devices have been found in 12 counties across the state.
Several customers of the Circle K on East State Street in Botkins were the victim of credit card fraud in February as the result of a credit card skimmer that was found on one of the pumps.
According to law enforcement officials, the frequent discovery of these devices indicates that the threat of this crime will continue, so consumers should always be alert when refueling. Anything that seems out of place or indicates that a pump has been tampered with should be reported to a station attendant.
Berning said paying for gas with cash is always the safest option. Customers paying with plastic should use credit cards rather than debit cards. Those who use their debit cards at the pump risk their PIN numbers being stolen. In addition, monthly bank and credit card statements should always be reviewed for any fraudulent charges.
Credit card skimmers can be used to steal credit card and debit card numbers as well as PIN numbers for the purpose of identity theft. These devices often are equipped with Bluetooth technology, which allow identity thieves to access private information from a distance up to 100 yards away.