How To Use Your Phone To Detect Skimmers

The secret service issued a warning to consumers to be on the lookout for skimming devices at gas pumps this 4th of July.

The scam is on the increase and it involves crooks implementing a card reading device on top of the gas stations pumps that can intercept the details from the magnetic strip and send them directly to a fraudster.

Secret Service Agent Matthew Oneil described this week why the scam is on the rise.

It will take just a matter of minutes depending on the level of tradecraft that the fraudster has. A high-level skimmer can send credit card information through a Bluetooth device and not have to return to the scene of the crime. With a Bluetooth skimmer, you don’t ever have to retrieve the skimmer if you don’t want to because the data is being sent through the Bluetooth device to another internet connected device

A Simple Skimming Detector Device

There is a simple way for consumers to protect themselves and it is sitting in their pocket.

The mobile phone that most people carry in their pocket can function as a skimming detector device and alert them when a gas pump might have a skimming device on it.

Since many skimmers use bluetooth to transmit the stolen information to devices potentially hundreds of feet away, you can use your phone to search for nearby devices when you go to a gas pump.

To check if there is a Bluetooth device in the gas pump, go to your phone’s settings and click on ‘Bluetooth.’ If a string of strange characters or numbers pops up in available devices, that’s likely bad

If you see a long series of numbers that don’t look like a common device, you might very likely have a skimming device on the gas pump.  You might want to proceed with caution.

Hope this handy little tip helps you.

Frank McKenna is the Chief Fraud Strategist for PointPredictive and a Fraud Consultant based in San Diego California