Credit card skimmers found at two local gas stations

Skimmers are inconspicuous, but recognizable if you know what to look for

Credit-card skimmers were recently found at Citgo stations in Stone Ridge and Shokan during a statewide sweep for the devices. Skimmers are illegal credit card readers attached to payment terminals at ATM’s or on gas station pumps, that can allow a third party to collect credit card data, including personal identification numbers, which can then be used for fraudulent purchases.

The devices were removed by the county’s Weights and Measures Department in collaboration with the Sheriff’s Department, New York State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to the FBI, it is estimated that credit card skimming results in over $1 billion in fraudulent credit and debit card charges per year.

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“I would like to thank the Department of Weights and Measures for their amazing work on this investigation and their dedication to protecting the residents of our county from fraud,” said Ulster County Executive Mike Hein. “I urge all residents to be alert for anything that seems out of the ordinary at an ATM or gas station pump payment terminal and to contact the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department if you feel you may be a victim of this type of crime.”

The Federal Deposit Insurance Commission offers several tips to help consumers detect and avoid skimmer devices:

• Do not use an ATM or a credit or debit card reader if anything looks suspicious, such as loose or extra parts.  Alert the machine owner or the police immediately;
• Avoid ATMs in remote places, especially if the area is not well lit or not visible to security cameras and the general public;
• Go elsewhere if a sign directs you to only one of multiple ATMs in a location.  It could be the specific machine that was tampered with;
• Shield keypads when entering a PIN at the ATM or a retailer’s checkout area. This may block the view of a hidden camera;
• Regularly check your bank and credit card accounts for unauthorized transactions, even small transactions.

Residents who feel they may be the victim of credit card skimming, whether at the Stone Ridge or Shokan Citgo gas stations or elsewhere, are urged to check their bank statements and report any suspicious transactions to their financial institution and the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department at 845-340-3588.

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