NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – With new technology comes new challenges.

Monday night the CBS 11 I-Team showed how gas pumps skimmers are on the rise as the technology becomes more advanced.

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But those in law enforcement say the Metroplex is uniquely equipped to tackle the problem head on.

In the new frontier of credit card skimming, the challenge is catching the crooks.

Gone are the days of suspects returning to the scene of the crime.

Now criminals can park nearby, steal the data via Bluetooth, then drive away unseen.

possible skimmer at gas pump in Haltom City (Texas Dept. of Agriculture)

John Day, a special agent for the U.S. Secret Service, examines what’s left behind. He works with the agency’s Financial Crimes Task Force.

Day is one of a handful of agents in the U.S. trained to extract data from a card the size of a fingernail.

It’s why agencies all over the country send their skimmers to the Dallas field office of the U.S. Secret Service.

“The way these cards are stored, you could put thousands of cards on one chip,” Day said.


At its core, a memory chip captures everything from your name to your PIN.

Day searches for clues tracing the device to a criminal.

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“Other than installing and connecting them, it doesn’t take someone who’s cyber aware to do this type of stuff,” Day said.

Certain gas stations stay ahead of the curve.

The I-Team charted a map of more than 200 skimming incidents since 2016. If you want to see if your local gas station has ever been hit by skimmers, CBS 11 created an interactive map.

Missing from that list? Buc-ee’s and QuickTrip.

At QT, pump shield technology shuts down machinery whenever someone tampers with the chamber, according to a spokesman.

QuikTrip gas pump (CBS 11)

But Det. Justin Trzepacz with the Arlington Police Department said the best defense comes down to consumers.

Inspect the pumps for red security tape and check your phone for a Bluetooth signal.

“If you can avoid those pumps, that would be the first step,” Trzepacz said.

Rep. Mary Ann Perez (D-Houston) plans to introduce legislation addressing credit card skimmers.

The bill would create a Fusion Center, or a database to help law enforcement across the state share the pertinent data to prosecute skimming suspects while creating preemptive measures to prevent the crime.

The proposal would make it mandatory that a skimmer be reported to the Texas Department of Agriculture within 24 hours.

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Under the measure, the Texas Attorney General could take “remedial action” against merchants who fail to report a card skimmer found at their station.Those merchants could also be liable for a civil penalty.