Gas pump ID thefts in Southern Arizona

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Identity thieves are targeting gas pumps in Tucson and Oro Valley as a way to steal personal information.

Police in Tucson and Oro Valley, along with federal investigators, have teamed up to track down thieves using devices called "skimmers."

It's something you don't think about when you get gas at the pump, someone stealing your credit or debit card information.

But police confirm it recently happened at four gas stations in Tucson and one in Oro Valley.

"What we found is that there was a device placed inside the gas pumps and it reads your credit card information read of course and capture its and keeps it and from there.  There has been some reported theft," said Sgt. Diana Lopez of the Tucson Police Department.

The thieves got access to the pumps using a key.  Once inside the pump the individuals are able to install the skimming device. 

It's hard to see, if you don't know what your looking for.

"It's really hard to tell whether your putting your card into a legitimate ATM machine, gas station gas pump or if there's a skimmer there," said Nick LaFleur of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona.

The normal routine of taking your card and putting it into one of these card readers has many customers concerned after hearing about this latest scam.

"Just to be safer I think I'm going to start paying at the register," said customer Lizzette Lomeli. 

"I have a daughter who is a new driver and I have been telling her, I told her about it.  I told her that she needed to be really careful and keep a watchful eye on what's going on.  But yeah it bothers me," said customer Pam Schifano.

The best advice for making sure your information isn't stolen at the pump.

"If you need to pay with a debit or credit card you need to go inside the business and use your card with the clerk," said Sgt. Lopez. 

"It's really a thing where you really want to be aware, make sure you really take a look at the card reader," said LaFleur.

Tucson police say, if you encounter or think a gas pump may have a skimmer, please tell the clerk at the station or contact your local police department.