- Denise G. Callahan Staff Writer
Three more illegal credit card skimmers have been found at Butler County gas stations, according to the auditor’s office.
During weekly sweeps, inspectors found two of the credit card copying devices on Friday and another on Monday, bringing the latest skimmer intercepts to five since July 13.
The last skimmer was found in West Chester Twp. at the Circle K Marathon at 5677 West Chester Road. This was the third skimmer found at that location, according to the auditor’s office.
The other two skimmers were found at gas stations in West Chester Twp. and in Fairfield, but the auditor’s office is not releasing the exact locations because of new efforts to thwart criminals by placing security cameras inside the gas pumps.
“We believe the skimmers are the work of the same criminal element,” Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds said in a statement.
In an effort to keep the pumps as safe as possible from fraud, Reynolds has had additional inspectors on duty since June of 2016. They have made weekly skimmer checks of every gas pump at approximately 100 service stations in the county.
In all, 18 illegal credit card skimming devices have been pulled from Butler County fuel pumps since the inspections started, according to the auditor’s office.
“Credit card thieves will continue using skimmers as long as they have easy access to the pumps. The fuel station owners can prevent this criminal activity by improving the locks on their gas pumps,” Reynolds said. “If the pump looks 20 to 30 years old, then you should expect the lock to be easily breached.”
Marathon and Mobil gas stations are the easiest targets, according to Reynolds, who said 11 of the 18 skimmers have been found at these stations. Skimmers have also been found at two BP, two Shell and two Sunoco stations, he said.
Kroger and Thorntons fuel stations appear to be the most secure, according to Reynolds.
When a credit card is run through a skimmer, the small device stores the cardholder’s data. Once the credit information is obtained, the thief can then sell the information or clone the credit card. All the devices found so far in the county have been located inside fuel pumps.