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Card skimmers found at Wisconsin gas stations

Two SE Wisconsin stations targeted
Posted at 12:47 PM, Sep 13, 2016

Wisconsin residents who've bought gas in the state recently may want to check their bank statements.

According to a news release, inspectors with Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's Weights and Measures Bureau have recently discovered skimmers in gas dispensers at stations throughout the state.

Two southeast Wisconsin stations were targeted, the Open Pantry at 17235 Bluemound Road in Brookfield and the Tri-Par Qwik Stop, at 580 Orth Drive in Random Lake.

An inspector found two skimming devices inside gas pumps at the Brookfield location on Sept. 6. It's not clear who placed them there, or how long they were there.

Officials say it appears the suspect(s) are targeting gas stations in close proximity to freeways. 

The skimmers come in two forms -- external devices that fit over the actual card reader at the pump, and internal devices, a cable with a recording device run between the card reader and the main board.

One Milwaukee woman is out nearly $4,000, after she says she stopped to fill up her tank at a gas station in Riverwest.  A handful of other people claim their financial information was accessed at the same station.

"I tried to use my debit card to buy a drink, and then my card kept getting declined," says Brittany Anderson. "I knew that I had money in my account, so I thought that was weird. Then, I tried to look into my account, and I just started seeing things that I did not purchase on my statement."

Like $3,000 worth of stuff at Saks Fifth Avenue, and $400 worth of makeup at Sephora. Not to mention, other declined charges she never made.

"I hope whoever is doing this gets caught," she says. "It's not a fun experience to go through. I'm out of a debit card for up to 10 days, and I have to change all of my billing information. It's just a huge pain."

A few things you can do to protect yourself:
-Check for signs of tampering, and wiggle the card reader before using it. It should not be loose.
-Avoid using gas pumps farthest from the attendant's view.
-Pay inside, or with cash.

Anyone who discovers a skimmer is urged to notify the gas station and call DATCP at 608-224-4942 or email datcpweightsandmeasures@wi.gov.