Credit card skimmers detected at WV gas stations

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Inspectors with the West Virginia Division of Labor have identified credit card skimmers at several gas station fuel pumps around the state recently. Skimmers have been detected at fuel stations in Charleston’s East End, Marmet, Morgantown, Parkersburg and Nitro.

Skimmers secretly swipe credit or debit card information. Advances in technology have made the devices smaller and harder to detect.

“On Apr. 5, one of our inspectors found the skimmer in Nitro during a routine device examination of the gas dispensers at a service station,” said Victor Zamora, director of the Weights and Measures program within the Division of Labor. “A member of the public would not have been able to see the skimmer by just looking at the pump. Our inspector can access the inside of the dispenser. That’s how the device was discovered.”

In another incident, the Division of Labor worked with the WEX fleet card program to track down a skimmer. WEX identified a card that had been compromised and reported the last fueling stop where the card had been used. The Division of Labor immediately carried out a thorough inspection of the fuel dispensers at the station and found the skimmer.

From December 2016 through the first week of April 2017, the West Virginia Division of Labor uncovered 10 credit card skimmers in fuel dispensers throughout the state. The agency contacts local law enforcement, FBI and Secret Service after each discovery. Prior to December, 2016 no skimmers were discovered by Division of Labor inspectors.

“There have been many more instances where devices were discovered by the fueling center establishment, a service company employee or someone other than the Inspector for the Division of Labor. They are not required to report these instances to the Division of Labor so we are unable to ascertain an accurate total,” said Division of Labor Deputy Commissioner Mitchell Woodrum. “We encourage the public to report any card readers that look like they’ve been tampered with and to review their credit card accounts for suspicious activity.”

Other measures the public can take include:

  • Pay inside the station with cash or credit card instead of at the pump.
  • Use pumps nearest the building where cashiers are more likely to notice suspicious activity.
  • If the card reader looks or feels “off” in some way, don’t use it. Report it.

Suspect fuel dispensers can be reported to Labor by calling 304-558-7890.

“We want the public to know our people are out there diligently working to protect their interests,” Zamora said. “We are not only looking for skimmers, but certify the quality of the fuel and the accuracy of scales that weigh gold, groceries, gravel and other goods.”

The Division of Labor operates under the umbrella of the West Virginia Department of Commerce.