Smartphones can now detect skimming devices - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Smartphones can now detect skimming devices

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People use cell phones for a lot of things these days, and now you can use them to protect yourself at the pump.

Card skimmers at gas pumps are a growing problem, and it turns out, using Bluetooth can help you know if you're being scammed.

Card skimming isn’t a new thing.

Crooks started putting readers into the card slots to get your information, and some go right into the pump itself.

"This just isn't the guy on the street, this is high tech crime,” said Kevin Curry, who is a gas distributor for Gulf.

He showed Eyewitness News how some of the older machines can be tampered with.

"They take this out, and they plug their device in and they close the door,” Curry said.

Cell phones are now being used for protection. Some pumps allow you to use phones in addition to pumps to pay for gas, and by searching Bluetooth, you may detect a skimmer scamming you.

Thieves often use Bluetooth technology to get your information. If you see a long string of numbers trying to connect, that’s a bad sign.

Newer pumps make it harder for crooks to get in. 

"If any plugs on the new pumps are unplugged, automatically goes into a disabled mode and we have to call a tech to service it. That means someone has been in here,” Curry said.

If you're at a pump and it looks like it's been tampered with, move to another or pay inside. It's also wise to print a receipt just in case you have to file a claim.

"Criminals get smarter and smarter every year, more ruthless you could say so it’s a matter of time,” said Brian Jones of Wallingford.

It’s hard to keep up with crooks and it's expensive. It costs tens of thousands of dollars to upgrade older pumps with tougher security measures.

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