New app can help you detect card skimmers

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OVERLAND, Mo. – Your identity could be stolen anytime you purchase gas at the pump at a convenience store or gas station. The Overland Police Department is telling citizens about a phone app that could protect you the next time you swipe your card at a pump.

“It looks like it might be a group of individuals working together,” said Overland Police Chief Michael Laws.

On Monday, Chief Laws and his department learned of three victims of identity theft. Apparently, their private information was skimmed or stolen when they swiped their card at a gas pump, possibly in Illinois. The thieves then came to Overland to use the stolen info to withdraw cash from an ATM.

Police offered advice you may already know. For example, when you pay at the pump, don’t do so if the card reader seems loose or if the security tape on the locked door is broken. Also, keep an eye on your credit card account. An Overland detective discovered something new, an app for your phone called a Skimmer Scanner.

“It sends out a signal from your cell phone looking for blue tooth devices,” Chief Laws said. “If you put it near the gas pump, it will tell you if a blue tooth signal is coming from a skimmer that is coming from the gas pump.”

A signal could mean your information is being transmitted to a thief, so don’t use the pump and call the police.

“It’s not a foolproof thing, but it’s something that might help protect you from an illegal device that was placed in that gas pump,” Chief Laws said.

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