Delaware County Auditor George Kaitsa joined 60 other county auditors from across the state today to launch a “Skimmer Sweep” over the Labor Day Weekend to protect holiday travelers from illegal credit card skimmers.
Delaware County inspectors will be checking frequently traveled routes in Delaware County for skimmers. Statewide, more than 80 weights and measures inspectors are expected to visit approximately 1,500 gas stations at targeted locations, checking more than 12,000 Ohio gas pumps for the illegal devices.
“With numerous reports recently of skimmers being found in our state, we are participating in this sweep to protect unsuspecting travelers from identity theft,” Kaitsa said. “I am pleased to partner with other county auditors from across the state to take steps to combat this criminal activity.”
At least 30 skimming devices have been found in Ohio gas pumps since last October. Most have been found in southwest Ohio and along the I-75 corridor, although the devices have also been found in 12 counties across the state.
According to Kaitsa, the frequent discovery of these devices indicates that the threat of this criminal activity will continue, so consumers should always be alert when refueling. Anything that seems out of place or suggests that a pump has been tampered with should be reported.
“Paying for gas with cash is always the safest option,” Kaitsa said. “The next best option, if you are going to use a credit card, is to pay inside at the station.”
Customers paying with plastic should use credit cards rather than debit cards. Customers using debit cards risk their PIN numbers being stolen and having their bank accounts accessed. In addition, customers are encouraged to check their credit card statements regularly for any fraudulent charges.
Credit card skimmers can be used to steal credit card and debit card numbers as well as PIN numbers and then the stolen information is used to engage in identity theft. These skimmers are equipped with Bluetooth devices that allow identity thieves to access stolen information from a distance of up to 100 yards away.