TechFriday: What does it take to steal credit and debit cards?

Posted By on August 28, 2015

Most technology followers know the theory behind copying the swipe code from traditional magnetic credit cards, but few people swiping their cards at the gas pump realize that the “skimming device” is installed by criminals is installed out of site “inside” the gas pump.

  • Q: If you can’t see it, how do you know your card is stolen?
  • A: You don’t until it is too late. It’s a growing problem.


The theft starts with a universal gasoline pump key that unlocks the majority of the nation’s dispensers. With a $111 credit card skimmer purchased on the Internet, a criminal can set up an enterprise to steal credit and debit card information from unsuspecting motorists fueling their cars.

First, the thief installs a skimming device as small as a matchbox inside the dispenser cabinet. The card data can be downloaded and sold on the Internet. Or, with a $359 card embosser and some blank magnetic cards, fraudulent cards can be made using the stolen numbers.

Either way, with their new “crowbars,” thieves are stealing millions of dollars. Some are using more expensive Bluetooth-equipped skimmers so they can do their dirty work without having to retrieve the skimmer.

The problem of criminals, many of them organized crime rings, placing skimming devices inside gas pumps has come to the forefront recently as Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspectors uncovered 107 illegally placed devices in a statewide sweep.

Full story in


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
My Desultory Blog