Hank Investigates: Gas Pump Skimming

QUINCY, MA (WHDH) - He thought he was only buying gas at this Quincy pump, but on this man’s credit card there were charges for a tuxedo, jewelry, and furniture! He wants to hide his identity, but listen to this.

Hank: “How much did they charge to your account?”
Skimming victim: “A thousand dollars.”

A thousand dollars!

Skimming victim: “We called the police, that’s what we were supposed to do.”

And inside the very pump that victim used, police found a computer cable. Criminals attached it to the credit card reader, and that transmitted his credit card data to bad guys, who downloaded it onto their computers!

Skimming victim: “It made me angry!”

Criminals pry open the pumps, sometimes late at night, they often use the pump farthest from any surveillance camera, and install the cables.

Edward R. Seidler, Sealer of Weights and Measurements, Framingham: “You unplug from the side of the other, plug your unit into that.”

They close up the pump and wait for the next victim.

Hank: “It will read whatever this reads and take the information?”
Seidler: “And take the information.”

The gas station gets paid, but your credit card info is swiped.

Hank: “When would the gas station know about this?”
Seidler: “Gas station might not.”
Hank: “Might never know.”
Seidler: “No.”

Detectives say the computer-assisted crooks are fast

Sgt. Karyn Barkas, Quincy Police: “These can be put on in minutes.”

And their schemes pay off.

Sgt. Barkas: “A lot of money is lost very quickly before they even realize it.”

We have learned this so called gas pump skimming is on the rise in Massachusetts.

Undersecretary John Chapman, Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation: “They’re really everywhere, you have to watch out.”

We found cases not only in Quincy, but in Westwood, Hingham, Westborough Bridgewater and more.

Now the state is pushing gas stations to protect their pumps with tamper-evident seals like these. And asking customers to watch out.

Undersecretary Chapman: “It was surprising to me that there were so many.”

And here’s how you can protect yourself: If there’s a seal on the pump, make sure it’s not broken. If you use a credit card, pay inside, or even use cash.

(Copyright (c) 2018 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)