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Blount: Protecting Against Credit Card Fraud

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Bartonville Police Chief Corry Blount
Bartonville Police Chief Corry Blount

I wanted to take the opportunity to respond to some concerns by citizens on the topic of credit card fraud related to the gas pumps at Kroger Marketplace.

BPD doesn’t have any history related to these offenses since the store opened nor have we taken any new, recent reports. I will give you the same advice that I would give anyone. If an offense occurs and we have no knowledge of it, we can’t do anything to mitigate the issue or address the crime. If it happens, let us know.

As a consumer, look at the device you are about to slide your card through. If it looks suspicious, give it a tug and see if the faceplate comes off in your hand. If it does, it’s probably a skimmer. Also look for the tape security tags on the doors that cover the scanner devices. If it’s gone or broken, it’s possible that a skimmer was placed inside the door of the pump.

I would encourage everyone to google search “gas pump credit card skimmers” or something similar and take a look at the thousands of photos that are available. This is not solely a gas pump issue; card scanners anywhere can become a platform for stealing card data. There are lots of ways for criminals to steal data; they depend on us to not pay attention.

Back to our local Kroger, I’ve personally made contact with the GM and inquired about their policies and practices related to detecting these devices. I was told that the employees assigned to the gas pump island check the pumps throughout the day to deter these things showing up. So far, we have not been told of anything being found locally. Remember as well that the area is covered by a video surveillance system that operates continuously. If we find out an offense has occurred, we immediately contact the staff and request video from the area. We have to know when an offense has occurred and we need to know as quickly as it’s discovered.

I’ve said this a million times and I’ll probably say it a million more; we are all in the crime prevention and detection game together. I need you all as much as the community needs its police department. You are the eyes and ears for us when we’re not around. Be aware, pay attention, look and report anything that you think is off or out of place, whether that is an odd device at the gas pump or cars loitering in the parking lot (possibly watching the device). And please, report offenses when they occur to give us the best chance of preventing future offenses and catching the bad guy.

As always, I appreciate your help and support

Chief Blount

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