Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Credit card skimmers found at Hess Gas Stations around Tampa Bay

NEW PORT RICHEY — Over the past several weeks, deputies say, criminals used skimmers to snag more than 300 credit cards from pumps at Hess Gas Stations around the Tampa Bay area.

Detectives first started investigating skimmers in Pasco County when they were found Feb. 28 at the Hess at Regency Park Boulevard and Ridge Road in Port Richey.

The skimmer didn't work, though, and instead shut down the machine. A manager inspecting the shutdown pump found the skimmer and called deputies. No credit card numbers were gathered.

They found another skimmer at a Hess Station on Mile Stretch Drive and U.S. 19 in Holiday. The skimmer collected eight or nine numbers before an attendant found it, said Detective Bruce Cohen of the Pasco sheriff's economic crimes unit.

On Saturday, devices were found on pumps No. 4 and No. 20 at the station, 28232 S.R. 54 in Wesley Chapel. Between the two, 337 credit card numbers were gathered.

No arrests have been made.

These skimmers don't attach to the credit card sliding mechanism on the outside of the pump, like you might have heard.

That's old technology, Cohen said.

New skimmers go inside the pump and connect to a wire on the card reader.

Usually thieves manage to get a skeleton key to unlock pumps at several gas stations.

After the skimmer has had time to gather information from several hundred credit cards, the thieves retrieve it and download the information to begin making fraudulent purchases.

Because detectives found these skimmers still attached to the machines, and the skimmers do not appear to have remote transmitters, Cohen says it's likely thieves weren't able to get the credit card information.

On Feb. 18, Hernando deputies found four skimmers on pumps at a Hess Station in Brooksville.

Cohen said investigators are looking at skimmers that have been found at gas stations in Largo and Palm Harbor. He believes these cases may be related.

He said customers of Hess stations in the area should check bank accounts frequently over the next several days to make sure fraudulent purchases aren't being made.

Credit card skimmers found at Hess Gas Stations around Tampa Bay 03/13/14 [Last modified: Thursday, March 13, 2014 10:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Car bomb kills 13, injures 24 in Baghdad; Islamic State claims responsibility


    BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad just after midnight today, killing 13 people and wounding 24, hospital and police officials said.

  2. Leaping shark floors angler in Australia


    In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's protagonist battles for three days to pull in his prized catch. For Terry Selwood, it came a little more suddenly.

    A 9-foot shark lies on the deck of a fishing boat at Evans Head, Australia on Sunday. Fisherman Terry Selwood said he was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the shark struck him with a fin as it landed on him on the deck. [Lance Fountain via AP]
  3. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  4. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber


    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  5. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]