HAMILTON, Ohio -- Like bad houseguests at the holidays, credit card skimmers are back in Butler County.
Inspectors found two skimmers Saturday: one at a Mobil station at the Fairfield Food Mart on Dixie Highway and another at a BP Station on North Erie Boulevard in Hamilton.
Both stations were checked earlier in the week and were clean, Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds said.
Saturday was the first time inspectors found one of the criminal devices since June 7, he said.
Watch how quickly someone can install a skimmer:
No larger than a thumb drive, skimmers pose a major threat to consumers and their credit card information. Rigged and wired to fit the inside of gas pumps, credit card skimmers are completely invisible to consumers and retailers. Once installed, thieves can commit electronic identity theft by getting a hold of their victims' banking and credit card information.
IN DEPTH: What makes skimming easier for thieves
Reynolds' staff have checked every gas pump in Butler County 28 times since June, he said.
Of eight stations targeted, four were in West Chester Township near Interstate 75.
"We have been regularly checking for skimmers during the week but have not done many weekend inspections," Reynolds said. "I just felt with the Christmas shopping season at full tilt and people preparing to visit relatives, it was a good time to mix it up and go out on a weekend."
Inspectors will be doing more weekend checks now, Reynolds said.
The two devices found Saturday bring the total to 10 skimmers uncovered in Butler County since November 2015; three were found around Thanksgiving 2015, and five more were found near the Memorial Day holiday this year.
While paying cash is the only sure way to protect from identity fraud, customers can take steps to protect themselves:
- Use gas pumps easily in view of the attendant and never use a debit card when purchasing gas.
- Report any unusual activity or anything that looks out of place.
- Monitor monthly bank and credit card statements for fraudulent charges.
- Notify local law enforcement and your credit card issuer as soon as you believe you may have been a victim.