PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Detectives with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office are issuing an alert to anyone who filled up at several different gas stations in the county: Check your bank statement.
Investigators say they found skimmers at nine different stations after getting a heads up from Department of Agriculture petroleum inspectors. Authorities found skimmers at the following locations:
- 7-Eleven: 6001 Trouble Creek Road, New Port Richey, Pump #3
- Citgo: 9039 Ridge Road, New Port Richey, Pump #3
- 7-Eleven: 38544 5th Avenue, Zephyrhills, Pump #2
- BP: 4109 Land O’ Lakes Boulevard, Land O’ Lakes, Pump #5
- 7-Eleven: 13440 SR 54, New Port Richey, Pump #1
- 7-Eleven: 9036 Little Road, New Port Richey, Pump #16
- 7-Eleven: 6315 Rowan Road, New Port Richey, Pump #12
- 7-Eleven: 4540 Rowan Road, New Port Richey, Pump #12
- 7-Eleven: 7320 SR 54, New Port Richey, Pump #12
Detectives discovered the skimmers after checking out 147 gas stations in the county.
Pasco County Sheriff’s Detective Darren Hill explains, the crooks see this as a crime that’s worth committing. “The reprocussions for someone gathering the information are not very severe, usually it ends up in probation,” said Hill. “So you’ve got a very low risk, high reward scenario.”
The criminals are also using technology to their advantage, using some skimmers that are equipped with Bluetooth. “If they put a bluetooth skimmer on there, they never have to come back and retrieve it. It sits there until somebody opens that machine and finds it,” said Hill. “They could be parked in the parking lot, sitting on a laptop, gathering every single card swipe that goes through that machine.”
The situation is frustrating to customers like June Ashe, who just want to fuel up without worrying. “I work hard for my money and if I’m coming to get gas to go back and forth to work and wherever I go,” said Ashe. “I want to feel safe and comfortable to come out here and get gas.”
If you think you may be a victim of a skimmer, detectives say you should contact your bank and notify them of the potential data breach. If you see suspicious charges on your bank statements, you’re asked to call the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.