Credit card skimmer found at Kentwood gas station

The skimmer found by Michigan Department of Agriculture inspectors at a Shell gas station in Kentwood. (Oct. 3, 2015)


KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — Another credit card skimmer has been found inside a pump at a West Michigan gas station.

Inspectors with the Michigan Department of Agriculture discovered the skimmer Saturday morning at the Shell station on the corner of 28th Street and East Paris Avenue in Kentwood.

Skimmers are devices placed inside gas station pumps that can steal customers’ credit or debit card information. Because they are inside the machines, customers can’t see them when they pay at the pump.

The skimmers have been recently discovered at gas stations in unincorporated Belmont north of Grand Rapids, Byron TownshipGrand Rapids,Dowagiac in Cass County and in Shiawassee County.

Recently the Metropolitan Fraud and Identity Theft Team arrested five suspects who were charged with possession of an automated sales suppression device and conducting a criminal enterprise.

A few days later, three more suspects were arrested in connection to incidents of “skimming” at West Michigan gas stations.

Those arrests seemed to have stopped the wide-spread problem. No more had been found until now, and the skimmer in Kentwood was the only one found on Saturday.

“It’s extremely frustrating. It’s hard for people when their personal lives are invaded and their finances are stolen or invaded like that,” said Jim Oswald, an inspector with the Michigan Department of Agriculture.

Oswald and other inspectors credit local gas stations for their vigilance.

Although they do not have outdoor cameras, the manager at the Shell gas station says employees check the pumps for tampering between two to four times a day.

Since nothing unusual was spotted Friday, it’s believed the device was installed sometime overnight. Which suggest that this could be the work of a new group of thieves — not a leftover skimmer from those already behind bars.

State inspectors are not working overtime hours, but rather adjusting their normal schedules for Saturday’s all-out blitz to check gas pumps across West Michigan. It is now part of their routine during gas station inspections to check for skimmers.

The inspectors will hand over their findings to local law enforcement.

If you’re worried your card information may have been compromised, check your bank statements and call police. When pumping gas, look for any tampering at the pump. If you’re still concerned, just go and pay inside.

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