Shell warns of credit card skimmers in Sarasota

Sarasota, Florida -- Most of us pay at the pump for one reason.

"It's quicker," says motorcyclist Larbi Banabura

However, what we save on time may cost us. Shell sent out a letter warning about gas stations in five Florida cities, including Sarasota, that may be victims credit card skimmers. Shell won't give the exact locations or say how many people have been victimized.

"It takes seconds to install," explains Detective Steve McDowell with the Sarasota Police Department. He says the skimmers are undetectable to the driver and when the pump door is opened, all one sees are a few wires.

McDowell says a Bluetooth skimmer gathers information off the credit card's black magnetic strip instantly.

"They can sit a short distance away and collect data real-time," says McDowell.

The black magnetic strip on the back of your credit card includes more than just your credit card numbers. It also has information unique to your account including your ZIP Code and that three digit security code.

McDowell says, "They take the magnetic strip data and create a second card. A cloned card."

"I am not surprised, I am not surprised," says Gloria Snellgrove. She says she's had her credit card information stolen and that's why she takes precautions.

Does she pay at the pump? "I used to, not anymore, I pay cash" says Gloria. "I'm afraid they will take my numbers off my card, stealing my credit card and my bank card."

Shell uses security seals taped to the pump door to alert drivers if the pump has been tampered with

"It's very thin fragile tape if tampered with breaks easily but nothing is 100% full proof," says McDowell.

Detective McDowell says the only sure way to protect your credit card is to do as Gloria does and pay inside.

Click here to read a statement from Shell.


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