Bluetooth at heart of US petrol station credit-card scam

It's not known if the petrol-pump skimming operation involves insiders or not

Thieves are stealing credit-card numbers through skimmers they secretly installed inside pumps at gas stations throughout the US Southeast, using Bluetooth wireless to transmit stolen card numbers, says law enforcement investigating the incidents.

"We've sent detectives out to every gas station within a mile of Interstate-75," says Lt. Steve Maynard, spokesman for the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, which last Thursday was first notified about a suspicious skimming device discovered by a maintenance worker at a Shell Station located in the vicinity of Gainesville, Florida. So far, three card-skimming devices hidden in gas pumps at three stations have been discovered by the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, and the U.S. Secret Service has been notified as part of the gas-pump card-skimming investigation.

Researchers unsheathe new tool to battle botnetsThe Sheriff's Office, along with other local police departments, are trying to inspect as many gas stations in the area as possible, especially focusing on those along I-75. But law enforcement is encouraging gas station operators to look for signs of the skimmers at their pumps and contact them if they think they've found something. The Secret Service has indicated there's a crime wave throughout the Southeast involving the gas-station pump card skimmers, and it may be traced back to a single gang that may be working out of Miami, Maynard says.

Nearby St. Johns County in Florida has also been hit by the gas-pump card skimmers. Maynard says criminals wanting to hide the credit-card skimmers in gas pumps have to have a key to the pump, but in some cases a single key will serve to get into many gas pumps. It's not known if the gas-pump skimming operation involves insiders or not. Law enforcement is encouraging gas-station operators to train video surveillance they may use on the pumps.

The particular card-skimmers seen in Alachua County have put together devices with computer components and in this case, a Bluetooth wireless capability to easily send the card information to the thieves. It's not yet known how many credit cards may have been stolen by means of the skimmers and fraudulently used. The investigation is "ongoing," Maynard says. "We're nowhere near closure. We wish we were."

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cybercrimemobile securitywirelesslegalNetworkingscamsbluetoothWireless & Mobile

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ellen Messmer

Network World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?