Card skimmer raises concern of identity theft in Effingham


Deputies in Effingham County are cautioning gas buyers after they found a card skimmer hidden in one on Thursday.

Officials said this is the first skimmer they’ve found at a gas station in the area and they need drivers to do their part to protect themselves at the pump.

William Duty knows all too well the dangers of using your credit card.

He had his account information stolen a few years ago.

But even he admits it’s just easier than cash.

“I used to use the card all the time wherever I shopped,” he said. “Very convenient.”

One way criminals steal card information is with a device called a skimmer.

“We’re always in such a rush when we’re at the pump trying to get out as fast as we can,” he said. “It’s not something we think about, but somewhere a device stealing your personal info right inside this pump.”

Effingham County sheriff’s deputies discovered one at a local gas station earlier this week – the first of its kind to their knowledge in the area.

The device was discovered during routine pump maintenance. When someone spotted the device, they contacted the manager who then contacted the sheriff’s office.

Deputy Bobby McQuaig said the department is not sure how long it had been in the pump.

The damaged part of the pump was only the size of a pencil eraser, but that was enough to slip the device in.

McQuaig said there have been no reports of victims from this skimmer. But there are some measures customers can take to protect themselves.

McQuaig recommends checking to see if there’s an inspection sticker on the pump itself.

If the seal is broken, alert a store employee immediately.

A gas pump will run normally with a skimmer installed, however, deputies said that repeated card declines are signs of tampering.

For the most part, identity thieves typically try to put skimmers on the outermost pump on the islands away from most video cameras.

Another option for drivers is simple – start using cash.

The skimmer has since been removed from the pump.

Investigators are using it in hopes of tracking down the person who installed it.

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