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Cumberland County officials take action to stop card skimmers

CARLISLE, CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. -- Cumberland County officials are taking action to prevent card skimming after thieves recently targeted two local businesses.

Police reported a card skimmer was found at a bank ATM, and another on a gas pump in the Mechanicsburg area last week.

Officials with the Weights and Measures Office are on the lookout for credit card skimmers at Cumberland County gas stations to prevent anyone's personal information from being stolen.

Cumberland County officials are going to be inspecting gas stations to make sure the only thing people get at the pump is gas, and not taken by a well-placed card skimmer.

Cumberland County Weights and Measures vector control chief John Bitner said "unknowingly, then someone will come up, do your credit card transaction and not even know that it's stealing their credit card information."

Sunoco store manager Shelly Wirick said "I think it's horrible. I think people work really hard for their money and they don't want to have extra charges on their credit card."

Keeping an eye out for tampered pumps is part of the job for Wirick.

"We just make sure it's safe. It's more time than I need to invest if we didn't have people doing things they aren't supposed to be doing," Wirick said.

It may bring relief to gas station managers as well as their customers that Cumberland County's Office of Weights and Measures is kicking off its Skimmer Detection Response initiative with random checks of area gas pumps.

"The county would like to provide an extra layer of protection for the residents, so that they can have some degree of confidence that whenever they buy a product at a fuel station, that someone has looked at it for an illegal skimmer," Bitner said.

"They have a little bit more ways of checking it better than we do. A little more sophisticated ways. So, it is comforting to know they come out and do that," Wirick said.

Hidden Bluetooth activated skimmers may be more difficult to spot than others.

"Persons who are putting the skimmers inside the device have a generic key that they use to open this up, pull the wiring, install the skimmer, close this, and their gone," Wirick said.

Inspectors are putting card skimming criminals on notice. The county will start the program, first by randomly checking gas stations that aren't open 24 hours. Those stations may be more susceptible to thieves who may install the devices in off hours.

"This program will be in effect for the next year, to two years, until at least the retail establishments can get the chip devices installed, that should help alleviate the problem with skimmers," Wirick said.

Officials with Weights and Measures place stickers on each pump that they perform their regular annual inspections.
Anyone who happens to be at a Cumberland County gas pump, and notices something that looks suspicious, should call the number on the sticker and inspectors will check it out.