Bloomington-area gas stations discover credit card skimmers inside pumps

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Feb. 8, 2016) -- For the first time, credit card skimmers have been found inside gas pumps in the Bloomington area.

The homemade devices, made up of a computer chip and ribbon and plugged into the pump's interior system, are used to store the information of credit cards swiped at the pump. Skimmers typically come back to get them and retrieve the information, according to police.

Employees at the Circle K on 3rd Street across from College Mall noticed a light on one of the pumps was dim last week. On Tuesday, a repairman called in to fix the pump found the skimmer.

After that station alerted others, a manager at the Circle K at 3rd and Indiana, next to the Indiana University campus, also located a device.

"We have been used to some of those that are attached to the outside of the machine and those are pretty easy to catch," Bloomington Police Captain Steve Kellams said.

This is the first time Bloomington Police have seen the devices inside the machines, though, and according to Kellams it makes them incredibly difficult to spot, even on security footage.

"These people are skilled. They know how to do it (and) they know how to do it quickly," Kellams said.

A day after the Bloomington discovery, Bedford Police posted on Facebook, showing a similar skimmer that had been found at a Circle K there.

Kellams said that it's possible the cases are linked and that his detectives were also looking at possible links to the Indianapolis area, where skimmers have become more prevalent.

"All the law enforcement agencies talking with each other can work together and try to make sure that if we do get leads and find out who it is, we can share that information because likely they’re connected," Kellams said.

If you used a credit card at one of the gas stations, Kellams said that it's not likely your information was leaked, since the devices were found before they could be removed. However, he believed the people who installed the devices had probably done this before so anyone using a card at the pump should pay careful attention to their account information and keep an eye out for unauthorized purchases.

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