Multiple Credit Card Skimmers Found in Hopland Gas Stations


pumping gas can stock photo
Press release from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office:

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

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35 comments

  • You try to help friends out and tell them that people like this are coming and all you get is stabbed in the back and banned. Thanks for the info Kym.

    • Hey willie, your old “friends” are back stabbing you again over at loco this morning claiming you’re a doxxer and stalker

      • Saying what really happened is considered ” stabbing him in the back”? You know exactly what happened and so do I, but you go on and rile Willie up some more, watching people squabble is a favorite past time.

        • Actually I don’t know anything about what they’re saying. I did see a disagreement developing but not the specifics they state

      • They are trying to say I threatened a person that works at loco but it’s a lie and I’ll never apologize for . The moderator I called the “Dutchess of Creo ” which in an old language she should know means “zero “.

      • Folks, I have enough trouble reading my own comment section. I don’t know what went on over at the LoCO. But the way I’m going to handle this is anyone can state the truth but if I see anything that looks like goading someone on either side, I’m going to start moderating and pretty quickly move to banning. I don’t need to see this website’s comment section get worse. (Keep in mind that I don’t know nor have the time to parse out what happened so act like grownups, maybe move beyond whatever happened and start fresh. Let people be whoever they show themselves to be here.)

        I just had someone who I believe is a genuine hero tell me that the things said here (not even about them directly but just talking negatively) hurt them immensely so I’m in no mood to put up with people pushing the limits.

  • Thanks, Kym. I am forwarding this article to friends who pass through Hopland.

  • Jacy Tatum’s new gig? 😉

  • political moderate

    I have always wondered why gas stations are not held liable when pumps are tampered on their property? They likely have surveillance cameras that could help identify scammers and should know when their pumps have been hacked. Ridiciolous.

  • Omg! I always stop in Hopland for gas when traveling. Dang!

  • This happened to me at the Shell gas station on Harris Street in Eureka in August. My bank said it isn’t a good idea to use debit cards at gas stations.

  • They got me at the arco in willets last dec. 24. Drained 1800 bucks out of my account by the time I got to Fortuna. My bank returned the money and determined it to be that station. If you are going to travel… try to determine how much fuel you might need and load that amount onto a pre paid card and use that on your trip. Just a word of advice. They got me too

    • I only use credit cards, debit cards are not really good for any protection. You got lucky if your bank helped you, mostly they don’t.
      Clark Howard has a radio show and explains how debit cards are bad.
      If you pay your bills on time, it’s fairly easy to get a credit card and build a credit rating.
      Debit cards aren’t safe and the poor generally are victims of these scams being run by drug addicts.

  • As the weed market crashed this scam has grown, making me think out of work dopers are behind these scams.
    Large gaps on resumes and criminal records make them unemployable, so they steal.
    Very sad indeed.

    • The individual that got mine was traced to Dubai. They were buying expensive items at different locations world wide. Hard to say who it might be.

      I’m thinking dope growers don’t have the patients to be running these type scams. Local robberies maybe “high” tech scams not so much

  • I never thought about the dispensary patients being ordered to do these scams, but I guess it’s very possible.

  • Don’t the put a tape seal of some sort over the locking device? Should be fairly easy to check… I hope.

    • the tape seal is supposed to be on the side of the door not over the lock but sometimes the technician will put it on top, plus people can steal those stickers or reproduce their own but still helpful to check

  • JustWantToHeartheEndoftheStory

    If you can’t get a credit card, or don’t want to use it, consider buying prepaid cards. That puts a limit on how much can be taken by the crooks.

  • There quick to install so keep an eye out at any place were you are the farthest away and darkest from any camera or eyesight of an attendant. That’s were they like to install them. ATM’s are there favorite. Take a moment take a close look at where your putting that card. Common sense, once it starts it will spread.

  • Is there a place to find out which gas stations were affected? I didn’t see the specific locations in the press release.

    • Since there are only 2 gas stations in Hopland – the one on the west side of 101 with the burger stand, and across the Hwy with the so called Deli.

      It states here in the press release: “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).”

  • How about walking 20 feet and paying with cash at the counter.

    • Well… cause most of my custies drop money in my account through the cash app. Therefore my card is needed… duh!

      • Maybe just go to an ATM before you go to a gas station if you have already been ripped off. Prob save you some time trying to get your money back from your bank, new ATM card etc….duh!

  • Wonder if gas pumps could be upgraded to chip technology to help reduce identity theft?

  • A very good reason to pay cash for gas

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