Victims couldn't see card-skimming device at area gas station

A 10 News Crime Tracker report explains the thieves' method

By Tommy Lopez - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. - Police say thieves have stolen money from people in Roanoke County after getting their credit card information through a method that gave the victims no way of knowing they were at risk.

A police investigation is ongoing into a case of card-skimmer devices that are new to southwest Virginia. Instead of going over the card slot at a gas station or an ATM, they’re inside the machine. They're not visible to people inserting their card.

Police don’t have any suspects in the case of three skimmers they found in the last two months at an Exxon station in Roanoke County near the corner of Williamson Road and Shadwell Road. The Better Business Bureau says the strategy is effective.

“The skimmers have become much more sophisticated,” said Julie Wheeler, president of the Better Business Bureau of western Virginia. “They're much smaller. They're much tougher to detect."

Sergeant Shannon Dillon with the Roanoke County Police Department says thieves are getting inside the gas pump machines legitimately, not breaking in.

“Until you open it back up, you would never know that it's there,” Dillon said.

This is the second case of a string of card skimmers this year in the county.

“It's been increasing across the country,” he said.

Vinton police still don’t have any suspects for a case in April and Pulaski police are still working on a case from February.

The Better Business Bureau offers some tips. Use a credit card, not a debit card, so you have protection. Use ATMs that are located at your bank. Check your bank accounts often and call police if you’ve been scammed.

The Better Business Bureau also says it's much more difficult for people to steal information from the chip readers on credit cards but smaller businesses have been slower to convert to those readers. It’s up to the gas station employees and ATM owners to check for and find these devices.

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