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ALBANY, N.Y. — New York State’s Department of Agriculture conducted its first-ever statewide skimmer crackdown in November, finding six such illegal devices at gas pumps.
According to Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball, all six illegal skimmers were turned over to police for investigation.
The government agency added that it will continue to check for skimmers as part of its regular inspections, with an emphasis placed on holiday traveling periods.
The skimmers were found at gas dispensers in Niagara, Monroe, Westchester, Rockland and Orange counties, as well as one location in New York City.
“Many New Yorkers have been saved from the damage caused by the theft of their personal information as a result of this successful inspection sweep,” said Ball. “This is just the beginning of our efforts to help protect New Yorkers. Now that our inspectors and municipal partners are trained, we will make checking for skimmers a part of our everyday routine, now, during one of the busiest travel holidays of the year, and year-round.”
In total, state and county inspectors checked 10,001 gas pumps — nearly 25 percent of the dispensers in the state — from Nov. 2-25. All six skimmers were internal devices connected to the wiring of the card reader inside the gas pump in order to steal and store credit card data until downloaded by criminals. Skimmers can be attached to the outside of a dispenser or hard-wired to the inside.
The New York State Department of Agriculture encourages consumers to be weary of gas pumps and ATMs that appear to have been tampered with or have loose credit card readers. It also recommends that consumers shield the keypad with their hands when inputting their PIN numbers.
Any consumer who suspects a gas pump may be compromised is encouraged to contact local police immediately.