MADISON - State inspectors have found more than a dozen credit and debit card skimming devices on gas pumps at stations throughout southern and eastern Wisconsin.
The skimmers allow scammers access to customers' financial information and could lead to fraudulent charges on the customers' accounts, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
Inspectors found the devices at stations in Appleton, Brookfield, Camp Douglas, Edgerton, Franklin, Janesville, Lake Delton, Madison, Milton, Oshkosh, Oak Creek, and Random Lake, said Jerad Albracht, a department spokesman. He declined to identify specific stations, citing the ongoing nature of police investigations into the possible thefts by fraud.
Officials have not yet determined if the devices were installed by a single person or are part of a larger operation, Albracht said.
"The idea of skimmers is not new," he said. "But we're finding a lot pop up at once."
Albrecht said the devices have been found at about 15 gas stations since the beginning of August.
External skimmers are fake card readers that fit over the actual card readers on the pump, while internal devices capture financial information between a legitimate card reader and the data system inside the pump, according to a department news release.
Officials encourage consumers to keep a close eye on their card statements and on the pumps they use. Ways for customers to protect themselves include lightly wiggling the card reader and looking to see if there are any broken security seals, according to the news release. They recommend reporting any signs of tampering to the store manager and to not use that pump.
For more information, or to report possible skimmers, please contact the department's Weights and Measures team at 608-224-4942 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.