ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Police are currently investigating a ring of individuals using skimmers to rip customers off in Albuquerque at gas stations.
The devices are called “skimmers.” They nab your credit or debit card information when you use them at gas stations and ATM’s.
“In my past experience, we’ve seen an attachment that is attached to the outside of the pumps, onto the debit or credit card reader,” Sgt. William Dorian said.
According to the Albuquerque Police Department, thieves are attaching these newer devices to the inside of the actual gas pump.
Customers would never know it, even if they took a look inside, because the skimmer looks like it’s part of the wiring.
“You can’t see anything from the outside,” Sgt. Dorian said. “Even people who work at the gas stations don’t even know what this is.”
Skimmers aren’t illegal, but what’s illegal is when thieves attach them to gas pumps and clone debit and credit card information. And it’s happening right here in Albuquerque.
“On the skimming devices themselves, they are clearly numbered,” Sgt. Dorian said. “We’re finding that they’re all related, number wise, and right now the highest we’ve found is 22.”
Meaning, there could be as many as 19 still out there — possibly more. The catch is, police don’t know where the other 19 are.
“In this case, it’s inside of the pump itself and it makes it a little bit harder to detect,” Sgt. Dorian said. “But we have great community policing here in Albuquerque, so we’re using that to our advantage.”
Sgt. Dorian said they are working with different gas station companies to locate the remaining skimmers. Police are also working with financial institutions and retail shops to tie the entire investigation together.
Police suggest paying inside when you fill up and keeping an eye on your bank statements.
APD said it doesn’t know yet how the thieves are getting access into the gas pumps.
According to police, they have nearly 100 people who have fallen victim to these skimmers in the last month, and that number continues to grow.