Sarasota police, gas stations warn customers of skimmers

- You may not be able to see them or hear them, but skimmers can collect your credit card information in one swipe and Sarasota police hope to help gas station owners fight this growing scam. 

Kamel Goor already checks his gas pumps off of Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota. His customers have not fallen victim to skimmers, and he hopes to keep it that way.

"For me, every day I look for this," Goor told FOX 13 News. "This is the first time I have opened it today for you. I checked them earlier for me."

Sarasota Officers want all gas station owners to be as vigilant as he. They have found three skimmers within the last month. Two were found one week apart, and less than 10 minutes away from each other.

On February 3, officers found a skimmer at a Marathon station at 2000 North Washington Blvd. On February 11, another skimmer was found at an Exxon station at 1841 S. Tamiami Trail.

Officers want customers to pay close attention before they swipe their credit or debit cards at the pump.

"Pull on the card reader. Make sure it is actually part of the machine. If it looks like there is something that has been glued or taped on over this real card reader, don't use that machine. Go in and let the clerk know," said Det. Sgt. Jonathan Todd.

Cinthia Gonazales works at the Exxon on U.S 41. She said customers should speak up when they see something fishy.

"It helps us, because, that way, in case it's broken into, we shut the pump down and have someone from the gas company come and take a look at it," she said.

Skimmers come in many shapes and forms. The devices are still very lucrative to criminals who can wind up with a treasure trove of information.

"I hate to give them too much credit, but they are able to utilize the technology these days to facilitate stealing money from hard working people," said Det. Sgt. Todd.

To stay safe at the pump, Sarasota Police recommends:

- If you see something suspicious to notify the store clerk and pay inside.

- If possible, try and use gas pumps closer to the store. Criminals often tamper with outer pumps that are out of view of a clerk or security camera.

- Monitor bank accounts regularly to watch for any unauthorized charges and report them immediately. 

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