BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (KMSP) - Minnesota Department of Commerce officials are warning consumers and gas station attendants to be on the lookout for card skimmers that can steal credit card information from people filling up at the pump.
The warning comes after three Louisville, Ky. men were arrested for attempting to place credit card skimming devices on several of the gas pumps at Bobby and Steve’s Auto World in Bloomington. According to the Department of Commerce, credit card skimmers are small electronic devices that can be attached to the credit card readers at gas pumps to collect and transmit a customer’s credit and debit card data.
Rene Cobarrubia Costa, 29, Brian Miguel Diaz, 25, and Miguel Castillo Fornaris were arrested on Jan. 25 after they were seen on the gas station’s surveillance camera attempting to tamper with the credit card machine at one of the gas pumps, according to the criminal complaint.
The suspects were caught before any credit card information could be stolen from Bobby and Steve's Auto World customers.
Police found five credit card skimming devices, a credit card reader and a GPS device inside their vehicle, as well as approximately 20 credit cards with different names and multiple credit cards in a nearby hotel room.
The suspects admitted to attempting to place the skimming devices on gas pumps in Minnesota and selling the credit card numbers to people in Kentucky.
How to protect your credit card information
- Inspect the card reader and pump for any signs of forced entry, including broken security seals, tool marks, loose materials, scratches that indicate someone may have tampered with the pump.
- Pay with cash or a card inside the gas station or select credit instead of debit on the pump. Never type in your PIN at the pump.
- Check your bank accounts and credit card statements regularly and report any irregularities to your financial institution or credit card company immediately.