Gas skimmers are becoming more of a prevalent problem in Arizona. According to the Arizona Department of Agriculture, more skimmers have been found in August of this year than all of 2015
“All of last year we found 11 skimmers,” says Mark Killian, the director for the Arizona Department of Agriculture. “In 2016 we found 40 so far this year, 12 in August alone.”
Killian says Cuban gangs moving to the southwest are behind the massive increase of skimmer devices. “There is a number of organized crime groups that do this,” says Killian. “Some of the most veracious of them are the Cuban gangs.”
The skimmers are becoming more advanced and difficult to find. They can be set up within ten seconds and be accessed through Bluetooth. Killian says, “They place it down within the middle of the guts of the gas pump near the main circuit board. It’s very hard to see and detect, so it’s taking for us longer to check those pumps and for industry to check those pumps to discover those skimmers.”
In Yuma, a skimmer was found at the Love’s Travel Stop at Gila Ridge Road and Avenue 3 E. Three skimmers were found at the Circle K at 26th street and Araby Road within the last three months. The Arizona Department of Agriculture says they will continue to check for skimmer devices but with new technology, it will make their task troublesome.
Killian says, “As we all know new technology changes all the time and these dadgum crooks seem to be on top of it quicker than we do and so it’s a constant running battle, but I want to ensure the public that we are doing everything we can with law enforcement to stop this.”
Because of the increase, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey recently signed a Law this year to increase the Penalty when criminals use skimmers for financial gain.
Some tips to make sure you don’t get scammed at the gas pump are:Ask the attendant when the last time they checked the pump for skimmers. Go inside and pay with your debit or credit card. Use cash to pay for gas.