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This Is Uncomfortable

Thieves have been stealing credit card info at gas pumps. Now there’s an app to foil them.

Shalina Chatlani Sep 6, 2019
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Skimmer circuits can record thousands of credit card numbers and transmit them via Bluetooth to a criminal’s computer.
Shalina Chatlani/KPBS

Last year, law enforcement officials found more than a thousand gas pumps nationwide that had been fitted with “skimmers” — electronic devices that record credit card numbers and, in some cases, transmit them wirelessly over Bluetooth to a criminal’s computer.

Criminals can open a gas pump’s front panel and install a skimmer in minutes. (Shalina Chatlani/KPBS)

This could have serious financial consequences for gas stations starting next year, when a law will require them to either spend thousands of dollars to install pumps that read the more-secure chips in credit cards or be liable for fraudulent charges. A new smartphone application could help law enforcement find skimmers before they cause too much damage. 

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