Few schemes for monetizing stolen credit cards are as bold as the fuel theft scam: Crooks embed skimming devices inside fuel station pumps to steal credit card data from customers. Thieves then clone the cards and use them to steal hundreds of gallons of gas at multiple filling stations. The gas is pumped into hollowed-out trucks and vans, which ferry the fuel to a giant tanker truck. The criminals then sell and deliver the gas at cut rate prices to shady and complicit fuel station owners.
I recall the first time I encountered an armed security guard at a local store. I remember feeling a bit concerned about the safety of the place because I made a snap assumption that it must have been robbed recently. I get the same feeling each time I fuel up my car at a filling station and notice the pump and credit card reader festooned with security tape that conjures up images of police tape around a crime scene.
Authorities in New York on Tuesday announced the indictment of thirteen men accused of running a multi-million dollar fraud ring that allegedly installed Bluetooth-enabled wireless gas pump skimmers at filling stations throughout the southern United States.
Gas pump skimmers are getting craftier. A new scam out of Oklahoma that netted thieves $400,000 before they were caught is a reminder of why it’s usually best to pay with credit cards or cash when filling up the tank.