Multiple Credit Card Skimmers Found in Hopland Gas Stations
On November 16th, 2018, at about 11:30 am, Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies were requested to respond to Hopland, CA for the reported discovery of a suspected “credit card skimmer” (scanning device) inside a gas station pump. The deputy met with a Mendocino County Agriculture Department representative who had responded following a report regarding potential identify theft stemming from a purchase of gas from that specific gas station.
The identify theft victim identified unauthorized charges to their credit card account following their use of the card at the gas station and suspected their credit card information and pin were stolen. The deputy along with the Mendocino County Agriculture Weights and Measures representative then proceeded to investigate all the gas pumps at the location. In total, five of eight pumps were identified as having the locking mechanisms defeated indicating someone had accessed the interior components of the gas pump. Only four gas pumps were identified with scanning devices. All four (4) scanning devices were removed and collected as evidence in this investigation.
Based on the number of devices located at the first gas station a check of the other gas station in town was conducted. The completed inspection revealed three (3) additional scanning devices bringing the total number of scanning devices to seven (7).
There are unconfirmed reports multiple victims have been affected by these devices. If you believe you are the victim of identity theft or fraud stemming from your purchase at a local gas station please contact your financial institution and local law enforcement agency to document the loss.
Based on the location of the devices recovered they were not readily recognizable and would not be visible to the consumer during the transaction. However, consumers should always consider inspecting any credit or debit card machine for loose or cleaner than usual parts indicating someone has tampered with the device. Additionally, inspect locking mechanisms located on gas pump panels which contain the card reader and pin pad. Evidence of forced entry at the identified gas station pumps was present and readily apparent after closer inspection.
Anyone with information concerning the unauthorized access and installation of the recovered credit card scanning devices from Hopland, CA is asked to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office tip-line at 707-234-2100