By Tom Mustin
HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – Authorities have issued a warning for drivers in Highlands Ranch after crooks put credit card skimmers on gas station pumps.
“Well they’re at it again,” said Robyn Otero, one of a growing number of identity theft victims in Highlands Ranch. “All my friends. It’s kind of what happens nowadays. It’s just, that’s the way it goes,” she told CBS4’s Tom Mustin.
Over the past few weeks, several residents have reported having their credit cards numbers stolen through so-called skimmers set up at gas station pumps throughout the area.
The crooks hit Otero for $200.
“It was the next day and I noticed it. It was right after the transaction that I had done, so that’s how I knew it was the gas station,” she said.
The skimmers are usually placed over the credit card swiping area. The device reads every card swiped and records personal information. In Otero’s case it was well hidden.
“I paid at the pump. I didn’t notice anything artificial or anything,” she said.
Recent victims have been reported at the Shell stations on Broadway and Highlands Ranch Parkway, and Wildcat Reserve Parkway and McArthur Ranch Road. The sheriff’s office says because not all pumps have been converted, even credit cards with chips are not immune.
“They’re sneaky. As technology has increased, their technology has increased as well,” said Otero.
She says after being targeted once, she no longer pays for gas outside.
“Credit cards and debit cards are just not as secure. Definitely pay inside. Even when it’s snow and cold and you’re feeling lazy.”
And as deputies search for the elusive criminals, Otero has some words of advice for her fellow neighbors.
“Just pay in cash. They can’t get you that way.”
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says they have no suspect information. They do have some tips to avoid becoming a victim:
– Pay cash
– Use the credit card at the register and not at the pump
– Before using the unit at the pump, give it a quick tug or shake it. The bad guys just use double sided tape of glue to attach the bad skimmer to the pumps so that they can easily remove the skimmer when they are done.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.