Card "skimmer" scam strikes Bartlett gas station - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Card "skimmer" scam strikes Bartlett gas station

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BARTLETT, TN -

(WMC-TV) – Cindy Coady of Bartlett is currently reconsidering where she fills up her SUV.

"Now I either won't get gas there, or I won't use my PIN, or I'll get a gift card, or use cash," said Coady.

She's one of at least three people whose debit card information was stolen at the Murphy USA gas station in Bartlett. $500 of Coady's cash was spent in California.

"When they told me they were ATM withdrawals, I was just shocked," said Coady. "How did they get my PIN?"

The crooks used what's known as a "skimmer."

"You actually have to open the gas pump with a key and then you have to hook some sort of electronic device up to the circuit board inside the gas pump," said Bartlett Police Captain Marlon Jones.

Unlike skimmers placed on ATM's, that are sometimes easier to detect, those hidden inside a gas pump almost always go unnoticed.

"When you run your card at the gas pump, it captures your credit card data," said Jones. "Your credit card number and a PIN number, if you're using a debit card."

Bartlett Police suspect thieves who may target specific areas for just a few days before selling the stolen information to third parties, often in other states. The crime leaves victims like Cindy Coady in a "state" of frustration.

"It just scares you because you feel safe with your card instead of cash," said Coady. "Now you don't know what to do."

Police say many gas pumps have seals or stickers that should never be broken.

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