SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - The Santa Barbara County Agriculture/Weights & Measures Department is warning the public of a growing number of credit card skimming devices found throughout the county.
Inspectors with the department have seen an increase of devices in recent months. They say enforcement and surveillance will be increased at fuel stations where the skimming devices are often found.
The devices can be planted inside a gasoline pump and spliced into a card reader, allowing for the card information to be recorded when a person uses the pump to refuel. The skimmers are then picked up, or the information is sent to another receiver away from the site.
Inspectors said there are usually no visible signs of these skimmers on fuel devices and they must work closely with station operators to examine the pumps. If found, these skimmers are sent off to local law enforcement for investigation.
Nine skimmer devices have been found at four separate gas stations in the last two months. This led to a sweep of 40 gas stations throughout the county. No more skimmers were found during these searches, but inspectors are still on the lookout.
In the last two months, 9 skimmer devices were found at four separate gas stations. This led to the Agricultural Commissioner/Weight & Measures Department conducting a countywide sweep of over 40 selected gas stations to search for these insidious skimmers. The good news is that no skimmers were found and that our county staff will continually be on the lookout for these devices while performing our fuel station inspections.
Matthew Maiten, Deputy Sealer of Santa Barbara County provided tips to avoid having your credit card information compromised.
It includes paying for gas with cash or using debit cards with better security features. He also recommends using gas pumps near service station attendants and keeping an eye out for security stickers that are broken or that have been tampered with. And as always, keep a close eye on your financial statements and look for suspicious charges.
For more information contact the Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioner/Weights&Measures Office in Santa Barbara at 805-681-5600 or in Santa Maria at 805-934-6200. You can also visit the department's website.