Thieves swipe credit card information at local gas stations

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Some customers of at least two local gas stations may have had credit card information stolen after criminals attached electronic skimming devices.

Steve Mulcahy got a surprising phone call from his bank informing him criminals had swiped his bank debit card information. 

"My credit card had been flagged. The number had probably been stolen ... from a gas station from a card skimmer," Mulcahy said. 

Mulcahy said Valley View Bank canceled and reissued him a new card before any money was taken. 

A bank spokesman said they contacted customers this week informing them their cards may have been compromised after criminals attached skimming devices at two gas stations along Stateline Road. Bank security detected the breach and took steps to protect their customers. 

The bank would not say which gas stations were targeted. 

"I've never really thought about it. I always thought my credit card would be safe using it at a gas station or ATM or anywhere," Mulcahy said. 

The crime is not new.  Criminals attach an electronic skimming device inside a gas station pump that picks up your credit card and pin information when you swipe your cards.   

Thieves can work hundreds, even thousands of miles away to collect your data, then create new credit cards without you knowing it.

"From a naked eye, it's very difficult for anyone one who's using an ATM or gas pump to know that this particular device has an implanted skimming device inside it," Overland Park Detective Byron Pierce said.

Security sources said some stations install tape at the pump after it's been inspected. If the tape is broken, the pump may have been compromised.

It's hard to avoid becoming a victim of credit card skimming. Police recommend you pay the station clerk or use cash. Plus, it is a good idea to do a regular check of your bank account and credit card activity. 

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