ABC 22 News Team
- Alexandra Lewis
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- Hilary Zalla
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CONSUMER ALERT: Gas Pump Scammers
UNDATED -- Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America with 8 million to 12 million people falling victim every year.
Thieves are using extraordinary measures to steal your money.
Postal inspectors got a tip to search a hotel room after a suspect was arrested with several stolen cards.
Dan Taylor, a U.S. Postal Inspector, says they went to the hotel and were surprised by what they found.
"We opened the door, there was a spotting scope with a video camera pointed out the window," Taylor said.
The camera was pointing at a gas station where the suspect in custody had placed a skimming device on a pump.
"He recorded 40 hours' worth of transactions and he was also logging PIN numbers as he was watching his victims," Taylor said.
The suspect had all the magnetic strip information on each credit card along with the numbers, the perfect storm for ID theft.
"Many times what these ID thieves are after is quick cash. With counterfeit credit cards, we see a lot of cash advances basically bleed the card for every bit it is worth," Taylor said.
Gas pumps are often a target.
Taylor has suggested two tips to protect yourself next time you fill up:
If you see something on the pump that doesn't look right, don't use it.
Then, report it immediately.
"Many times the scammers are keeping close surveillance on their skimming device. If law enforcement can be notified maybe we can catch them in the act."
Postal inspectors say it is so important to protect your credit and banking information.
"This guy took extraordinary measures to get the information, it just shows the determination some criminals have and they will do anything to steal your money."
In this case, the suspect was convicted of identity theft and is serving prison time.
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