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WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 17, 2012, 07:04 PM

Credit card skimmers found in Minnesota gas pumps

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- Identity thieves are making it a little harder to see skimmers that collect credit card information at gas pumps.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- Identity thieves are making it a little harder to see skimmers that collect credit card information at gas pumps.

Police arrested a couple in Plymouth, Minnesota after finding six skimmers at a local gas station.

Anthea Varriano likes the convenience and ease of paying at the pump.

Anthea Varriano - Fargo: "It's such a natural thing to just stick the card in and get on your way as fast as possible."

Now, some criminals are hiding card skimmers inside the pump, making you an unsuspecting victim. A California couple arrested in Plymouth, Minnesota last week faces nine felonies after the devices were discovered at a local gas station.

There are no known incidents in the Fargo area, but police say use caution to avoid costly identity theft.

Sgt. Mark Lykken - Fargo Police: "When they're used illegally, on those few instances, they're used dozens of times within a short period of time, and if your credit card company doesn't call you, you may be liable for some of those purchases."

Many card skimmers are visible if you know what to look for, but now criminals are placing the devices inside the pump, making it nearly impossible to see. The couple arrested in Plymouth had a screwdriver and cordless drill in their car.

The visible skimmers look like plastic panels that collect data as the card passes through. Some gas stations discourage theft with surveillance cameras and pump inspections.

Steve Bettenhausen - Gas Station Owner: "You go up to the pump, and if anything doesn't look quite normal, question it. If you have any further questions, just go inside and use your credit card. That's very secure inside."

Skimmers often also appear on ATM machines.

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