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Sierra Madre gas station is victim of credit card skimming

January 10, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Identity thieves have struck again in Sierra Madre. For the second time in a year, card skimmers have been detected inside the pumps at a gas station.

This time evidence of the devices was discovered on Dec. 27 at the Valero Station on Baldwin Avenue. Authorities are still going through reports, but said as of now at least two people have had their credit card info skimmed.

One swipe is all it takes- you think you're getting gas, but instead you're giving thieves all your credit card information

"It's such a small town, who would do that?" said Torey Wahlstrom from Sierra Madre. "It's not like we are in downtown L.A. or something, where there is a lot of people. We are in the middle of nowhere."

Customers at that gas station are now being warned they may have been the latest victims of card skimmers.

"I'm telling all my customers just please if somebody used the card on that pump, doesn't matter when, just call the bank, check it out, put a stop on it, change the card, get a new card," said owner Abger Artyen.

Last month, police were called to this station after what looked like vandalism on one of the pumps. Police found evidence that a card skimmer had been placed inside the gas pump. About a week later customers began reporting discrepancies on their bank statements

This incident brings back memories and worries from 2010 when a gas station just a few blocks south of Valero had skimmers placed inside its gas pumps, draining nearly 600 victims of more than $172,000.

The Sierra Madre Police Department said it is working on both these cases with the U.S. Secret Service, but in the meantime both gas stations are taking extreme precautions to protect their customers in the future.

"We are going to put a new camera system," said Artyen. "We are going to put a totally, completely different system to protect our customers."

Customers that used a credit or debit card at the Valero gas station between Dec. 1 and Dec. 27 are being asked to check their bank statement immediately, and to call Sierra Madre Police Department if there are any discrepancies.