The Van Police Department is the most recent victim of credit card skimmer devices being placed on East Texas gas pumps.
Inspectors from the Texas Department of Agriculture responded Thursday to a complaint of possible skimmer devices on two gas pumps at the Grab N Go convenience store at 629 W. Main St. in Van.
The inspectors located the two devices in the lower portions of the gas pumps, not the top, as is the typical placement of these illegal devices that can gather credit card and debit card information from unsuspecting customers.
The skimmers were found on pumps 3 and 4 at the store, according to the agriculture department.
Officials with that agency said the skimmers were working both sides of the pump, using bluetooth signals to transmit banking information to an unknown source. The inspectors discovered that an iPhone did not pick up the signals, but an Android device did.
Grab N Go was unaware of the presence of the devices and is not implicated in any illegal activity associated with the devices, according to a news release from the Texas Department of Agriculture.
The agriculture department looks for illegal credit card skimmers as part of its routine inspections of more than 400,000 fuel pumps throughout the state. The department will contact local law enforcement authorities for removal of the device and for subsequent criminal investigation.
Thursday's discovery marks the second time this week inspectors found skimmers in East Texas. One was located on a gas pump at a Tyler convenience store on Monday. These incidents come just weeksafter local authorities announced arrests and a crackdown on the illegal devices.
The Tyler Police Department, Smith County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Secret Service on July 14 announced the arrest of five people after a multi-agency credit card fraud investigation and said more arrests were expected in the case.
The investigation started in April when there was a spike in the area of credit card accounts being stolen through the use of gas pump skimmers.
Consumers are encouraged to be aware at fuel pumps. If a credit card scanner looks like it has been tampered with, move to another pump or pay inside. If fraudulent charges are made on your account, contact your financial institution immediately.
Contact the Texas Department of Agriculture at 1-800-TELL-TDA to make a complaint about a fuel pump.