Texas Department of Agriculture to crack down on credit card skimming

The Texas Agriculture Department will begin inspecting gas pumps for credit card skimmers. (Photo: CBS Austin)

As we approach the holidays, thieves are looking to steal your money.

Credit card skimming is a growing problem.

The Secret Service estimates it costs consumers more than $3 billion every year.

As you withdraw cash from an ATM or fill up at a gas station, you might want to pay close attention to where you’re inserting your credit or debit card.

“So as you place your card into the machine, the crook is able to get your information, can get your information,” said APD Detective Michael Morgovnik, Central Texas Financial Crimes Task Force.

Det. Morgovnik says thieves sell the stolen data to the black market and it is used to make fraudulent purchases.

Central Texas cracks down

In May, the Travis County Sheriff’s Office discovered three card skimming devices at local gas stations.

Then in August, Austin Police caught a pair retrieving a skimming device from an ATM at the Domain.

Police say catching the crooks is nearly impossible.

“It’s very, very difficult in that sort of environment to track down the individuals responsible for that crime,” said Det. Morgovnik.

Can Texas do more?

Right now, Texas isn’t doing much to crack down on the problem--but we learned about one state that is.

This year, Arizona’s Department of Agriculture launched a major sweep of gas stations in the state.

Last year 11 skimmers were reported, but since this past January, the department has located and disabled 78 skimmers.

We ask Sid Miller

We took this issue to our Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller.

“We are working on a program to address that issue right now,” he said.

Miller heads the Texas Agriculture Department, which is charged with inspecting gas pumps.

He says field pump inspectors at the department are currently being trained on how to find skimmers, especially skimmers with bluetooth capability.

“We are going to crack down on the skimmers here at TDA,” he said.

Doing inspections on the pumps on a yearly basis won’t happen right away.

“We continue to have more fuel pumps but not more inspectors,” he said.

Right now pumps are being inspected every 6 years.

Miller said he wants to shorten the gap between inspections by outsourcing them to technicians in the private sector.

“We think with these new technicians looking inside the pump we are going to catch alot of these skimmers,” he said.

Miller said he hopes to have inspections done every two years by 2018.

“The consumer has been getting ripped off and that stops with my administration,” he said.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off