Three gas stations target by skimming devices

Jennifer Jackson knows all too well how having your bank card information stolen can cause problems. Just about two months ago it happened to her.
 
"We started going through the purchases and realized someone had spent a little over $500 at multiple gas stations in Fort Myers area," she said.
 
That one swipe of her card led to hours of back and forth with the bank to get things straightened out and her money back.
 
Having a bank card skimmed and the information taken at a gas station is a far too familiar crime. In fact, over the weekend Tampa police found three skimming devices at three separate South Tampa gas stations. 
 
Each one was a Circle-K or Shell station. One was on South Westshore Boulevard and the other two on South Dale Mabry Highway.
 
"Typically they have one of the keys to the machine," Tampa Police Sgt. Pat Kennedy said. "And they just open the machine where the credit card device is and attach the skimming equipment."
 
Tampa Police said the devices have since been removed and handed over to the Secret Service, which is helping lead the fight against the scammers.
 
Just attaching a machine is a third-degree felony, which could land whoever is responsible in jail.
 
But what should we do to keep ourselves skim free? 
 
Kennedy said the first thing you can do is look for a little strip of tape. It is security tape on the pump in the area of where you would swipe the card. If it is not there or broken, Kennedy said you should use another pump or even go to another gas station.
 
You should also let the clerk working at the station know and contact police.
 
Jackson takes her own precautions.
 
"Always pay cash at a gas station, or always use your card inside the station,” Jackson said. “And don't ever input your pin number when you pay using your debit card. Always use it as credit."
 
The investigation is ongoing. If you think you may have visited one of the targeted stations, police suggest you carefully go over your bank statements to make sure there are no extra charges you are not aware of.
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