Gas pump skimmers draining drivers

June 25, 2008 4:23:19 PM PDT
An Action News investigation reveals that the problem is far more widespread than we were first led to believe when we broke this story last week. Three more locations have been found where it's happened, including one in Downingtown.

Most of us don't think about it when we use our credit cards at the pump.

But, a clever band of thieves has been targeting WAWA gas stations in the area.

Evidence of tampering has been found at WAWA's in Bristol Township, Concordville, Lionville, Downingtown, and in New Castle, Delaware.

An electronic device called a skimmer is installed inside the pump, so there's nothing to tip you off.

The skimmer grabs your credit card information when you swipe your card.

The thieves then open new accounts in your name.

Investigators believe the thieves are targeting WAWA because they are high volume locations.

Most victims were hit last month and are just becoming aware now that their credit statements are coming in.

The device at the Downingtown WAWA was detected early thanks to an alert employee.

Downingtown Police Chief James McGowan says, "An employee noticed wires when he went to replace the paper for receipts." Downingtown police turned the skimmer over to federal authorities who are leading the investigation.

WAWA says it is only aware of the investigations in Bristol Township and New Castle.

Customers like Elizabeth Murphy of Malvern are wary. "That's not good. Actually, I may not get gas now."

Police say the best protection wherever you fill up or use your credit card is to check you bank statements at least weekly, if not daily.