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How To Avoid Being Scammed At The Gas Pump

A fuel pump at a Westside Jacksonville gas station is pictured.
Anthony M. Inswasty
Wikimedia Commons
A fuel pump at a Westside Jacksonville gas station is pictured.

Driving around in search of deals and discounts this weekend can use up a lot of gas.

But the simple act of filling up at the pump can make even the most astute among us a sitting duck for a crook with an illegal card skimmer. 

Skimmers are usually attached to a gas pump in such a way that makes them nearly impossible for a customer to detect.

Ed Bides with Florida Capital Bank said although it’s hard to tell the difference, there is a way.

Motorists can now use the Bluetooth function on their cell phone to find out if a pump’s credit card scanner has been corrupted.

“What you would do is go ahead and on your phone go into the settings and start your bluetooth.  And when it does a scan, if you notice that a device pops up that has a long stream of numbers and letters, probably about 10-to-15 digits long, there is a card skimmer that’s on the pump,” said Bides. Or, it could mean there is a skimmer on a nearby pump.

Bides said the reason this works is because the crook is also using Bluetooth in order to transmit and collect a customer’s credit card information.

He also suggests doing a bluetooth scan before getting money out of an ATM.

If you do detect an illegal card skimmer, Bides recommends reporting it to the gas station attendant or the bank.

You can hear Bides’ full interview on the First Coast Connect podcast.

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at choskinson@wjct.org, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter @cydwjctnews.

Copyright 2020 WJCT News 89.9. To see more, visit .

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.