Howe PD investigates skimmers placed on local gas pumps

| February 2, 2019 | Reply



By Mary Jane Farmer

Skimmers found — Howe Police Chief Carl Hudman reported that, on January 24, police were called to a convenience store/gas station on U.S. 75 service road in reference to skimming devices having been found on three of its gas pumps. Skimming devices are defined online as “used by criminals to capture data from the magnetic stripe on the back of an ATM card.”

Hudman said the Howe PD recommends following these guidelines before using a credit or debit card to reduce the risk of having your information compromised.

  • Before inserting your card, (1) Inspect the pump and see if the security tape is in place across the dispenser door. If it is broken, don’t use the pump. (2) Use the pumps closest to the store entrance, within sight of its security cameras or the store clerk, (3) When possible, use only those gas pumps you are familiar with and use regularly without issue. (4) Use a smart phone app designed to detect credit card skimmers. (5) Pay with cash or use your card inside the store.

“The thing to remember about the skimming devices used today is that they are using blue-tooth technology. The bad guys can sit inside their vehicle anywhere from three feet to 100 yards away and remotely download debit card information gleaned from skimming devices,” Hudman said, adding that skimming devices can be installed on pumps within seconds. “Day or night, thieves install skimming devices on gas pumps at stations which can be either open or closed… and return to re-install new skimmers after the original ones have been discovered.” To that end, this current skimmer crime followed similar ones discovered on December 10 of last year at the same station.

Van Alstyne PD

Van Alstyne Police Chief Tim Barnes said that the Van Alstyne officers “frequently check all our pumps in the city, and management at each filling station are very diligent about checking things also.” He, too, advised it’s better to use a credit card than a debit card, one that doesn’t connect to your checking account. “And keep an eye on your bank accounts and statements. If you see anything fraudulent, contact your bank.”

There are several skimmer-detection apps available to be downloaded onto phones.

In other activity this week, the two departments reported:

Gas drive-off — At about 11 a.m. January 25, Van Alstyne police were called to the Quick Check convenience store at East Van Alstyne Parkway and Waco Street. Barnes said someone had driven off without paying for the gasoline he put in his vehicle’s gas tank. Barnes identified the suspect as an 18-year-old Van Alstyne resident.

Criminal mischief — Someone caused damage to property in the 200 block of West San Antonio in Van Asltyne on January 27, Barnes reported. The damage was done by spray paint, which was applied to items in the yard, onto the house, and a vehicle.

Arrest — At 7:11 pm, January 24, Howe police Cpl. Morris and Officer Kilbourne arrested a 36-year-old Howe man on a Felony C assault/family violence charge and two outstanding Van Alstyne PD warrants. Those charged him with not having paid his fines on previous convictions of having an animal at large and a seat belt violation. He sat those fines out, and paid $4,000 bail in surety bonds for his January 28 release. Howe Hudman said, too, that they cited the arrestee’s spouse on a charge of assault/family violence.


Category: *- Features, Van Alstyne News

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