A recent plethora of reports of stolen credit card numbers in the St. Louis metro area has led authorities, banks, and credit and debit card customers on a wild goose chase to recover their stolen funds. The cards numbers were “lifted” using credit card “skimmers” that were inserted into several metro area gas station pumping machines. A credit card skimmer is a computer device small enough to be inserted into a credit card reader that has it’s own credit card stripe reader and usually some sort of radio or Bluetooth device to transmit the information to another computer in order to commit credit card fraud.
Several gas station customers in Ladue, Webster Groves, Clayton, St. Louis City, and other areas in the St. Louis metro region have reported being victim to this recent credit card scam. Hundreds to thousands of credit card numbers have been stolen without the victims knowledge due to the credit card skimmers being nearly impossible to spot. The credit card skimmers are inserted into the credit card reader of a gas station pump in order to collect the information stored on the back of the card during the swipe. The information stored includes the credit card holders name, address, phone, and credit card number, that is then used to create a fake credit card that is used to make fraudulent purchases.
How to know if your card has been compromised
It is hard to know unless you start seeing unauthorized charges happening in your account. Some banks will catch these charges right away and restrict your account if they seem unusual to your normal buying behaviors. These charges vary and appear to be mostly at local St. Louis metro area businesses but sometimes can appear from other states. Usually the first charge will occur at a Walgreens for over $100, and then after that the charges will vary from gas stations, stores, and fast food restaurants.
What to do if your card has been compromised
Contact your bank or card issuer immediately and let them know what charges you believe to be fraudulent. They will have their own security department investigate the fraudulent charges and may further instruct you to file a police report.