FRANKLIN, Ind – Franklin Police are urging anyone who filled up at one of the city’s busiest gas stations in the last two weeks to check their bank and credit card accounts immediately.
Internal electronic skimming devices were found Sunday evening inside two gas pumps at the Circle K station located at the intersection of U.S. 31 and Jefferson Street.
A Circle K manager told police he found the devices inside pumps 3 and 8 while he was changing the receipt paper inside the pumps.
He said the devices could have been inside the pumps recording customers’ information for up to two weeks, the last time the paper was changed.
“Unknown how many transactions may have transpired over that two week time frame,” said Franklin Police Chief Tim O’Sullivan. “Hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly. We don’t know.”
Unlike external skimmers that are attached to card readers, the devices found Sunday were installed inside the pumps, so Circle K customers would not have seen anything out of the ordinary when buying gasoline.
“They had a male and a female end attached to actual wires inside the pump,” O’Sullivan said.
Whoever installed the devices as able to open the locked pumps without leaving a trace.
“There’s no damage to the pump itself, so there’s no forced entry to cause concern,” O’Sullivan said. “And so the only other way to get in there would be to use a universal key.”
Skimming devices like the two found Sunday are designed to record credit and debit card information, including PIN codes.
Some devices can transmit the data wirelessly using Bluetooth technology, so the devices don’t have to be removed from the pumps for a thief to receive the data.
At that that particular gas station, over a two week period, O’Sullivan says a large number of people could have had their card information stolen.
“A scary amount of people, because it’s busy,” O’Sullivan said. “It’s one of the busier locations in the city, it’s right off US 31.”
“I would say if you used that gas station in the last two weeks, immediately check your accounts to see if there’s any fraudulent activity,” he said.
As police took the reports of the two devices, they learned that the Circle K station has no outside security cameras installed, so investigators won’t be able to review any video in their search for a suspect.
The devices were taken back to the Franklin Police Department to be examined for possible finger prints. At this point, that could be the best lead investigators have.
The manager who found the devices told police he would ask the store owner to install security cameras as soon as possible. In the meantime, red security tape has been placed on all the pumps.
If customers notice the tape is broken, that would indicate someone has opened the pump without authorization.
O’Sullivan said if you think you have fraudulent transactions on your bank or credit account, you should first contact the bank, and then call police to file a report.
Those reports could prove useful if police can identify where and when the transaction was made and track the transaction to whoever is committing the fraud.