WOODLAWN, Ohio -- An inspector found a credit card skimmer Monday morning at a gas station just off Interstate 75, Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes said.
The skimmer was on pump No. 8 at the Shell Food Mart at 501 Glendale-Milford Road, Rhodes said. A supervisor for the auditor's Weights and Measures division found it.
Woodlawn police were notified.
"We have previously advised the operator to improve his security," Rhodes said in an email.
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.
The devices first started appearing in northern Ohio about two years ago, Rhodes said. His office checks for skimmers when they test a station's pumps -- but, he said, "there's always that possibility lurking out there that somebody's going to get (a customer's) credit card information."
The Shell Food Mart's location, just off the interstate, is a high-risk area, Rhodes said: "They can get the information, take off." Inspectors will check other stations in the area.
Consumers should also check for a sticker over the door of the gas pump to see if the seal has been broken, and anyone who sees something unusual should also report it.
The safest bet, though, is to pay inside.
"It's such an easy crime of opportunity," Rhodes said, "that somebody gets the idea and they're off to the races."