A Butler County inspector found a credit card skimmer in a pump at another gas station Wednesday, the fourth case in the county in recent months.
County Auditor Roger Reynolds said one of his Weights and Measures inspectors found the skimmer at a Marathon Station at 6100 Dixie Highway in Fairfield. In November, two gas stations near Union Centre Boulevard were found to have skimmers, along with a station on Germantown Road in Madison Township.
It’s not limited to Butler County, either: In the Tri-State, Warren and Hamilton counties have reported cases, along with Fort Wright police.
Frank Applegate, an investigator with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, speculated in December that organized crime rings may be behind the rash of skimmers.
The investigation seems to have revealed “a pattern with a group of Cubans that have been hitting the Ohio area as well as Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky,” Applegate told the Journal-News, a WCPO media partner.
Once a skimmer is installed, the thieves can commit electronic identity theft by getting a hold of their victims’ banking and credit card information.
While paying cash is the only sure way to protect from identity fraud, customers can take steps to protect themselves: Use gas pumps easily in view of the attendant and never use a debit card when purchasing gas.
At a summit about credit card skimmers held last week, Applegate suggested that customers and store employees jiggle the slots where credit cards are placed to check if they’ve been tampered with.
Report any unusual activity or anything that looks out of place.
Monitor monthly bank and credit card statements for fraudulent charges.
Notify local law enforcement and your credit card issuer as soon as you believe you may have been a victim.