Crooks Using Bluetooth To Steal At Gas Pumps

DALLAS (CBS11) -Pump prowlers in Dallas are stepping up their game, stealing bank information in some cases instantaneously with a new device police are calling “scary.”

Dallas Police recently discovered five different skimming devices that utilize Bluetooth technology.

Bluetooth skimmer (Jeff Paul - CBS11)

Bluetooth skimmer (Jeff Paul – CBS11)

“I think that’s terrible,” said Tracy Schlossstein, a driver who uses one of the impacted gas station.

Investigators said they found the devices buried inside the outside, credit card kiosks at four different ExxonMobil gas stations.

“I think that’s sad because they could be over there in the next parking lot reading information, hacking it off the computer,” said Schlossstein.

Dallas Police said instead of the crooks returning to the machine to collect the data, the credit card information is sent directly to someone likely sitting in the parking lot on their computer.

“They can do it in a split second, put it on. So they obviously have knowledge of the pumps,” said Dallas Police Lt. Tony Crawford.

The last Bluetooth skimmer was found on Thursday afternoon.

“It makes total sense being that Bluetooth is very short-range, easy to install, micro-small,” said Michael Dear, owner of Spy Centre Security.

Dear said consumers or gas station owners could purchase a frequency detector to figure out if one of the new devices are attached to their pumps.

Basic models start at $200, but more sophisticated units that can pin-point each specific frequency can cost up to $500.

“It doesn’t surprise me, the thieves and criminal are always a step ahead,” said Dear.

The most obviously way drivers can fight back against the new Bluetooth skimmers is to stop using plastic and stay away from the outside kiosks when buying gas.

“Now that you’ve made me aware of it, I’ll probably get cash and go inside and pay,” said Schlossstein.

Police also urge driver to look for gas stations that have security tape strips. If anyone has cracked inside, the seal would be broken.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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