PREBLE COUNTY — Preble County Auditor Lavon Wright joined 61 other county auditors from across the state on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 1-2, to launch a “Skimmer Sweep” over the Labor Day Weekend to protect holiday travelers from illegal credit card skimmers.
Wright, Preble’s Director of Weights and Measures Sean Maggard, and Weights and Measures Inspector Mauri Miles checked 243 pumps across the county during the sweep.
None were found to have skimmers installed.
More than 80 weights and measures inspectors were expected to visit more than 1,500 gas stations at targeted locations, checking more than 12,000 Ohio gas pumps for the devices across the state, according to Wright.
“With numerous recent reports of skimmers being found in our state, we are participating in this sweep to protect unsuspecting travelers from identity theft,” said Wright. “I am pleased to partner with other auditors across the state to take steps to combat this crime and to make Ohio better.”
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 I-75 corridor, although the devices have also been found in 12 counties across the state.
According to Wright, 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.
“Paying for gas with cash is always the safest option,” said Wright.
Customers paying with plastic should use credit cards rather than debit cards. Those who use their debit cards at the pump risk their PIN (Personal Identification Number) 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.
According to Maggard, some local stations, like the Beoddy Marathons in Eaton, have special locks in place on the pumps to deter the ability to install a skimmer.