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GPS Beats Gas Pump Skimmers

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Worried about gas pump skimmers stealing your credit card information? Police in Redlands, California came up with a way to find the thieves without having to spend hours in a stakeout.

If you're not in the know about gas pump skimmers, they're devices that are hooked up to gas pumps that scan and store your credit or debit card information. Customers don't know they're there because the thieves install them inside the pumps.

Normally, when a device is found, police stake out the gas station for untold hours waiting for the perp to come retrieve the device.  They got smart though.  Now, instead of waiting, police install a small GPS tracker.  The normal battery life is about six hours, but the GPS's can be tweaked to allow for even longer periods of time.  That way, when a thief picks up the skimmer, the police are notified and can track them down pretty much wherever they go.

Of course, ferreting out thieves and scammers is a constant game of one-upmanship.  Thieves now have pump skimmers that stay attached to the pumps and send the information out to the thief via Bluetooth, so a thief can sit in a car or even walk around the store while their laptop or phone downloads the stolen data.

What will the cops do next to overcome this new hurdle?  Install Bluetooth blockers?  Go back to doing stakeouts?  Only time will tell. Fortunately, gas pump skimming isn't a huge, widespread crime epidemic.  Not yet anyway.