HOLLYWOOD PARK - Crooks are hitting local gas pumps looking to steal your credit card information.
Just this week police discovered thieves have been operating a credit card skimmer at a busy north-side gas station for days without anyone noticing.
Hollywood Park Police Chief Shad Prichard said a skimmer was found Tuesday night inside a gas pump at a gas station off Loop 1604 and Stone Oak.
The unidentified suspects were cloning credit cards then using the cards in the Houston area.
"We think as officers we're pretty vigilant about these kinds of things but this technology is so good even a couple of our officers were affected as well," said Prichard.
Prichard is now preaching awareness.
The Chief said it's hard to spot a skimmer.
They're now hidden inside.
Information is transmitted through a Bluetooth signal to a suspect near the location.
"We've taught in the past you're going to wiggle these things (credit card reader cover) and you're going to look at the keypad and look for hidden cameras, but now things are so well done they're going to be behind the scenes and you're not going to see them," said Prichard.
Many gas stations now have a way to tell if the machines have been tampered with.
"You're going to see a piece of security tape and if that thing has been removed and you see there is no security tape, you're probably going to want to use a different machine," said Prichard.
Prichard says iPhone users can detect a skimmer by looking at their Bluetooth options while at the pump.
"If you see a long string of numbers, it's not going to be legible, it's going to be a, zero, ones and threes. If you see something just really off the wall, that could be a scanner producing that signal that you're picking up with your phone," said Prichard.
Prichard said about the only way to make sure you're not going to be a victim at the pump is to pay in cash.
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