Community reacts to skimmers found at gas stations

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Two credit card skimmers were found on gas pumps at Exxons on Sam Rittenberg Boulevard in West Ashley and Harbor View Road on James Island.

It was at gas pump number seven where the owner of this Exxon in West Ashley found a skimmer.

According to the police report, he got complaints from customers that the pump would not read cards. That is when he found a device invisible to the naked eye that was stealing people's credit card information.

"Honestly, it doesn't cross my mind because you just pull in and pump your gas right away. You don't think about people coming over and taking your card information," Charleston resident Kaitlyn Stine said.

"I come here all the time on my way home from work and I'm very disappointed to hear that it's happening in this area," Charleston resident Diane Owens said.

Stine and Owen's information was not stolen.

Charleston resident Diana Lynne's, however, was.

"It was at a service station outside of Atlanta," Lynne said. "[The gas station attendant] handed [the credit card] back to me and said you need to do it again, it didn't work. That's when I got suspicious."

Her suspicions were spot on.

About 30 minutes into my drive home, I got a call from my credit card company saying they wanted to check on a charge," Lynne said. "It was a company in Afghanistan and the charge was $280-some and I said no, that's not me- I'm in Atlanta."

Charleston Police advise drivers filling up at the pump to pay with cash and use the pump closest to the building.

Honestly, I have a prepaid gas card. I do that a lot when it comes to gas," Owens said. "They can't take anything out from my account with this."

"I always check to see if [the card slider] is fitted closely," Lynne added. Lynne said if you do use cards, keep tabs on your purchases. Check your bank statements frequently to catch any mistakes as early as possible. "I always keep my receipts to make sure that there are no charges to my credit cards that I didn't charge."

"There's a lot of fraud going on," Owens said.

"It's everywhere now. You pay with your chip or you have to swipe it," Stine said. "People can always steal your identity and your money."

The owner of the Exxon in West Ashley on Sam Rittenberg Boulevard, Robert Suggs, released a statement saying:
"The first thing I would like to do is apologize to all my customers. We have been on that corner for 38 years and I feel horrible that it happened. I noticed a credit card reader at one side of a gas pump last Monday was not working properly. I called the repair company to get them to come get it repaired and explain the repair. He told me that sounds like someone might have put a skimmer on there and he started telling me what to look for. I looked for it and, sure enough, it was one inside of the gas pump. Apparently, these thieves are getting master keys to the gas dispensers and putting the skimmer inside the pump, not on the outside. I removed it and called the police, of course. I have been working with the detectives, given them video surveillance, they were going to try and get fingerprints off the skimmer. As far as what I'm doing to combat the issue, I now have to go out there and physically check my gas pumps every day, which I do diligently. I have ordered something called pump security tape, which is what you put over the door that accesses the inside of the pump, not that it would stop them but it would be visible to the naked eye to see if someone has tampered with the door. I'm also looking into getting some kind of specialized lock for my gas dispenser where the key cannot be duplicated. I am very sorry to my customers. I hate that it happened at all to me and them, especially them. I'm staying very diligent to make sure that there are no more skimmers in the pump."

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