The Pasadena Star News ran the story this morning HERE regarding ARCO in El Monte customers. In short some witty crooks or hacker types inserted skimmers into the pumps at that station sometime in recent weeks. Customers swiped their card, entered their pin and voila the crook had both that were needed to go on Christmas shopping sprees.
According to the article, thieves were hitting checking accounts between $400 and $1,500. One customer reported getting hit over $10,000. Another had those linking to their account getting hit after their own account was too low to cover the attempted withdrawal.
Of course it happening at an ARCO station is nothing new. Our own Travis got hit this summer and reported it HERE after she got her account lightened up a bit. I think I see a pattern with ARCO stores and wonder what they are going to do to curtail it? More on the SGV and debit card history.
This sort of crime isn’t new to the SGV. In fact I got hit twice in the fall of 2005. It was at my local Shell Station. Monrovia PD resolved it fast and got the little buggers.
In the process I learned how they run the scam, or at least locally. Several dozen people were hit on both credit cards and debit cards as well as Shell’s own card. Hat’s off to MPD for solving it faster than Shell was willing to take the charges off my account.
Not all pumps can be seen by the on duty station attendant or the ever present camera’s. The crook will use the pump most difficult to see and does the installations at night. As happened in my case, an employee at the store “helps” his pals by not seeing anything while their friend slips in the skimmer while they worked on a pump that wasn’t clearly visilble on the cameras. That process takes under a minute to install. About as much to remove. It isn’t easily detected when in.
All told they maxed out my gas card, twice in two months. My neighbor had the same happen to her Shell account. We both new friends who had a few hundred to a bit over a grand taken from their checking accounts.
Now for the tidbit most don’t know. Your homeowner or renter’s insurance policy covers credit card and debit card fraud. If your bank doesn’t work with you, or work with you quick enough turn your claim to your carrier. They will work faster and then hassle with the bank for reimbursement that way.