Christopher Delmonte, Chief of Police
220 Pleasant St.
Bridgewater, MA 01930
For Immediate Release
Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Bridgewater Police Urge Residents to be Vigilant Around Gas Stations, ATMS to Avoid Skimmers
BRIDGEWATER — Chief Christopher Delmonte reports that the Bridgewater Police Department is investigating an incident involving a card skimming device found at a local gas station this week. Police are reminding the community to be cautious while filling up their tanks and when taking money out at ATMs to avoid becoming a victim of this crime.
On Monday, Feb. 1, police received a report that a skimming device used to read credit card numbers had been installed at the gas station terminal on the northbound side of Route 24. The affected area included the pump in the third row from the left and the farthest pump from the left. The Bridgewater Police Department and Massachusetts State Police are investigating the matter.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury reports that thieves may attach devices, designed to look like a normal card reader, to money machines that read and store your debit and credit card information once you swipe them. Hidden cameras often accompany these fake machines to record your personal identification number (PIN), giving thieves everything they need to drain your account or to make unauthorized purchases.
Chief Delmonte is urging residents to be cognizant when using ATMs and other public payment processing machines, especially at gas stations, airports and convenience stores, as you could unknowingly become a victim of card skimming.
“Unfortunately, it is very easy for thieves to steal your information through these devices, which often go unnoticed, especially when residents are at the pumps looking to quickly fill up and continue with their day,” Chief Delmonte said. “Whenever you’re using an outside card reader, whether it’s at a gas station or ATM, take an extra moment or two to ensure that it has not been tampered with before swiping.”
To avoid skimming, follow several precautions outlined by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation:
- Use pumps closest to the attendants and be aware of lighting conditions. The darkest, furthest pump is a thief’s ideal target.
- Pay inside and use cash when possible. Credit and debit cards account for more than half of all U.S. gasoline purchases, making it all too easy for thieves to acquire your information. If you must use plastic, opt for a credit card or use the option that allows you to process your debit card purchase as a credit card transaction. Avoid using your PIN whenever possible.
- Check the condition of the pumps and pay attention to details. Sometimes there are slight abnormalities that you may detect. If it looks suspicious or if you spot any sign of tampering, immediately notify an attendant and make sure the police are called.
- Look around. Some thieves use blue tooth technology which requires them to be within a certain distance of the pump. If a person or car seems to be lingering for too long notify an attendant.
If you believe you have been a victim of skimming, immediately contact your bank or credit card company. If you locate a skimming device, call the Bridgewater Police Department at 508-697-6118.