Gas station pump card skimmer found in Washington County

Staff Writer Kate Wehlann

UPDATE: This afternoon, Sheriff Brent Miller informed us the gas station at which the skimmer was located was the Marathon station in Hardinsburg. 


It’s a fairly rare occurrence in Washington County, but sheriff’s deputies discovered a card skimmer hidden in a gas pump at a gas station in the county. Sheriff Brent Miller said his department didn’t want to reveal the gas station involved in the interest of not harming their business, causing much frustration among the public, but did say it was at a more remote gas station with less video surveillance.

Miller said some skimmers designed to fit over the legitimate scanner on the pump are easily detectable — just grab the plastic casing and give it a tug. If a piece comes off, alert the station cashier and don’t use that pump. However, Miller said the individuals responsible for these skimmers are getting craftier and developing ways to actually enter the pumps with a key and install a device completely hidden inside, leaving customers none the wiser, until it’s too late. He said people will pull up, block what they’re doing with a car door, and in minutes, can have a skimmer installed.

The one found on Wednesday was one of the latter devices.

“A lot of times, it’s a really simple device,” Miller said. “It saves the information to a chip and they’ll come back and take the skimmer off again later. That’s all it takes.”

Miller said his advice would be to use fuel pumps closest to the cashier’s station or convenience store doors, as people are less likely to tamper with pumps easily visible by employees and others at the gas station. Try to use pumps that are well-lit, with visible cameras. His best advice would be to simply go inside to pay for gas instead of using the card payment system at the pump at all.

Miller said these devices are more often found at gas stations near interstates, where more commuters are driving in and out and are less likely to be paying as much attention, eager to get back on the road.

“This is the first one we’ve found in a while in Washington County,” said Miller. “Fortunately, we don’t see these very often.”


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