Gas pump skimmer cases skyrocket in Travis County

The number of drivers scammed by gas pump skimmers is growing so rapidly in Central Texas.

The number of drivers scammed by gas pump skimmers is growing so rapidly in Travis County that deputies are now receiving special training on what exactly to look for.

The sheriff's department itself has had it's gas card system hacked, but it is not alone. Deputies say skimming is becoming very common and very high tech.

KVUE spoke with a man who asked us to protect his identity from a criminal that's likely still on the run. His company operates a fleet of more than 100 vehicles, and last week the gas account showed $400 in gas purchased in one night.

"The next morning my guy tried to buy fuel somewhere and they wouldn't let him have it, so that's what prompted us to start looking," he said.

He traced it back to a gas station along RM 620 in North Austin and called the attendant.

"I said, 'I think you got a skimmer,'" he explained. "And that's when he went out there and looked, and he came back frantic and he told me he had to call his boss now."

Travis County Sheriff Detective Steve Moore said it is likely the driver didn't see anything out of the ordinary because criminals have figured out how to get inside the older style pumps and install a skimmer that uses Bluetooth technology. They can then pull up to the pump and clone all the information onto any card with a magnetic strip.

"It could be a hotel key card or blanks that they get off the internet," Moore said.

KVUE got access to brand new training information given out to Travis County deputies.

It advises to look for broken security tape over the pump door, cameras, any loose parts on the card reader itself.

Deputies also say to check your phone for any wi-fi signals.

Moore added, "If you're the only one there and there's nobody near you, then maybe decide to move on to another pump or go inside and pay."

Moore told KVUE they've only caught two people for this type of crime since January. He said a lack of law enforcement resources, reporting by victims and high-quality outdoor surveillance video all contribute to the issue.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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