Have a cell phone? You can detect a credit card skimmer near you

A cell phone can now detect if a skimmer is lurking, and it works through the Bluetooth device

Card skimmer found in a gas pump at Country Convenience.


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The problem with credit skimmers on gas pumps is getting worse. Data thieves are getting more sophisticated, but the technology to combat them is getting better, too.

A cell phone can now detect if a skimmer is lurking, and it works through the Bluetooth device. All you have to do is go to settings and enable Bluetooth, and if a long string of numbers or letters is trying to connect – that’s your red flag.

Professional hacker Jon Waldman said the data transmission that allows a skimmer to remotely retrieve stolen credit card information is the same way you can find out if a skimmer is active around you.

“It will broadcast and wait for somebody to connect to it. If you just look on your phone, open up Bluetooth and you see a suspicious looking Bluetooth connection, that will give you an idea that maybe something is not right here,” Waldman said. “Utilizing Bluetooth now takes away the physical component of having to go and check on a skimmer. They can just be within 30 feet of a skimmer and steal the data that way.”

Within the last year, a lot of stores were required to have chip readers for debit and credit cards. In 2020, those chip readers will be required for gas pumps too, creating another way credit card companies are hoping to protect people from becoming victims of skimmers.

Besides the Bluetooth test, consumers should look at a gas pump for signs that it has been tampered with and make sure it has an inspection sticker from the county auditor’s office.

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