You are here: Home > News & Press Releases
Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs
Issues Credit Card Skimmer Alert
CLEVELAND – Cuyahoga County’s Department of Consumer Affairs is issuing a new alert about credit card skimmers after its Weights and Measures inspectors found one of the identity-theft devices at a Garfield Heights gas station.
Inspectors discovered the illegal device this morning during a routine check of gas pump accuracy at the Sunoco station at 6009 Turney Road in Garfield Heights.
Skimmers are camouflaged or hidden devices that ID thieves use to capture consumers’ credit and debit card information as they pay at the pump. Thieves secretly install devices and then they use the stolen information to create fraudulent cards.
Although some devices transmit information remotely, Secret Service agents said the device hidden inside the cabinet of the station’s No. 5 pump was an older type that stores data until the thief returns to retrieve it.
The Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs urges gas stations to routinely inspect pump cabinets and registers for strange or unusual wiring, broken security seals or loose or protruding card reader mechanisms.
Station employees who verify a skimmer is on a pump should immediately call police and avoid touching the device.
Skimmers like the one found by county inspectors are installed inside the pump cabinet, and consumers often have no way to spot them.
Consumers can protect themselves by:
- Using pumps that are in view of the gas station office because those are less likely to be compromised.
- Using chip cards rather than swipe cards when possible.
- Avoiding any card reader that looks odd or that seems or seems loose. (Give the reader a gentle shake.)
- Using credit cards rather than debit cards at the pump.
- Paying indoors if possible.
- Regularly reviewing statements for unauthorized charges.
Consumer Affairs is developing training materials for station owners and managers. Those interested in learning more about skimmers or Weights and Measures laws should contact the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs at 216-443-7035 or www.consumeraffairs.cuyahogacounty.us
The Department of Consumer Affairs’ mission is to make sure people who live or shop in Cuyahoga County get what they pay for.