Credit card skimmers found on pumps at Destin gas stations

Staff Writer
The Destin Log
These skimming devices were found at two Destin-area gas stations.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the discovery of credit card skimmers found on pumps at two Destin area gas stations Wednesday.

These devices allow credit card information to be stolen from the consumer and used to create new credit cards. This card information is either sold or used by the thieves to make purchases.

Earlier this month, Al Mobley removed a skimmer device from an ATM at Hancock Bank in Destin.

“I grabbed that thing and it popped right off,” Mobley was quoted as saying in a Northwest Florida Daily News article.

A skimmer device was also found at the Hancock Bank in Gulf Breeze. At the time, officials from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office had said the skimmer found in Destin was the first of its kind found in Okaloosa County.

Public Information Officer Michele Nicholson from the OCSO told The Log there has been a rash of similar cases recently in Walton County, so these types of cases are a regional issue. She said the best protection is prevention by being aware.

Here are some tips to avoid this credit card fraud activity:

• Check to make sure the gas pump dispenser cabinet is closed and has not been tampered with. Many stations are now putting a piece of security tape over the cabinet to ensure it has not been opened by unauthorized individuals.

• Try to use a gas pump closer to the front of the store. Thieves often place skimmers at the gas pumps further away from the store so they aren’t noticed as quickly.

• Use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards have better fraud protection and the money is not deducted immediately from an account.

If using a debit card at the pump, choose to run it as a credit card instead of using a PIN number. That way the PIN number is safe.

• Monitor bank accounts regularly to spot any unauthorized charges.

• Consumers who suspect their credit card number has been compromised should immediately report it to authorities and their credit card company.