Parkland Press

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Skimming devices again found on gas pumps

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 by The Press in Police Log

State Police Troop M, Bethlehem, and the U.S. Postal Service are investigating two skimming devices placed on gas pump at the Top Star gas station and convenience store, 5626 Route 145, Laurys Station, North Whitehall Township.

According to police, the skimming devices, which could not be detected from outside the pump or by an individual pumping gas, were found Nov. 15, 2017, inside of the gas pumps.

Police say the devices appeared to be placed on the pumps on or about Oct. 15, 2017, and remained there until November 2017.

There have been more than 40 individuals identified from these devices who have had their cards fraudulently used.

In addition, police say there are possibly twice as many individuals as they may not have reported the fraud to police or may have reported the theft to a police department outside the Lehigh Valley.

Debit cards with PINs have been used at ATMs and post offices Nov. 10-15, 2017, in Lehigh, Northampton, Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, and southern New Jersey.

Police say debit cards with PINs were also used Nov. 20 and 21, 2017, in various areas from Harrisburg to Greencastle, Franklin County, and Somerset, Somerset County.

During this time period, there were purchases and ATM withdrawals in and around areas in Los Angeles, Calif.

Currently, the fraudulent transactions total more than $27,000 with more to be determined, police say.

Anyone who meets the following criteria is asked to contact State Police Troop M, Bethlehem at 610-861-2026.

The criteria are: used your debit card with PIN to purchase gas at pump Nos. 3 or 4 at the Top Star, Laurys Station, between Oct. 25 and Nov. 15, 2017 and fraudulent transactions appeared on your account; debit with PIN was used for ATM inquiries, withdrawals in the areas stated and debit with PIN was used to make a high dollar purchase at post offices in the areas stated.

This case only involves fraudulent transaction in which a debit card with PIN is used for fraudulent transactions not transactions involving a credit card.

This case is not the same group of individuals from the skimming devices located in August 2017 at the same gas station.

Police are looking for cardholders for multiple Key Bank cards from the August 2017 case that were used fraudulently as Key Bank fraud department has not been willing to assist in contacting the cardholders at their request.

Multiple individuals in this current case knew of the case in August and used their debit card with PIN at the gas pump anyway.

As previously reported in a Nov. 9, 2017, edition of The Parkland Press, three skimming devices were found Aug. 30, 2017, inside different gas pumps at the Top Star, Laurys Station.

More than 20 individuals from that incident have been identified as having their credit cards used and there were numerous other card numbers for which the owners have not been identified.

The loss per individual, in the August case, ranged from $200 to $5,000.

Police advise when getting gas, never use a debit card with PIN or debit card as credit, because it is linked to a checking or savings account.