WILMINGTON — Clinton County Auditor Terry Habermehl joined 60 other county auditors across the state Thursday to launch a “Skimmer Sweep” over the Labor Day weekend to protect holiday travelers from illegal credit card skimmers.
More than 80 weights and measures inspectors are expected to visit more than 1,500 gas stations at targeted locations, checking more than 12,000 Ohio gas pumps for the devices.
“Clinton County Weights and Measures Inspector Eric Keltner does a great job of checking for skimmers and educating station personnel on what to look for, but this is a growing problem,” said Habermehl. “With numerous recent reports of skimmers being found around the state and near Clinton County, we are participating in this sweep to protect unsuspecting consumers from identity theft, he continued. I am pleased to partner with other auditors across the state to take steps to combat this crime.”
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 been found in 12 counties across the state.
According to Habermehl, “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.”
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.
Paying for gas with cash is always the safest option, Habermehl said.