Police warning Hanford residents after high-tech skimming device found at gas station

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Thieves are targeting at least one Central Valley gas station by stealing people's identities and getting away. Hanford police are warning people about the credit card skimming device found at a gas station on Tenth and Grangeville Avenues.

Six months after using his credit card at a Lemoore gas station, Ryan Saville got an unusual call from his bank.

"They were just like, 'There's been an alert. A skimmer on a pump that you used, and we're going to block your card and send you a new one,'" he said.

He was shocked to learn this Mobil gas station in Hanford is being investigated for a similar incident because it is a gas station he frequently uses.

"They need to be stopped," Saville said. "It's ridiculous, they should just get a job like the rest of us earn money the hard way."

Hanford police say last Monday, a customer informed the owner about something unusual at pump number five.

"The owner went out there opened the pump up and found the skimming device inside which was a small little computer chip with a Bluetooth device with it," Sgt. Justin Vallin with the Hanford Police Department said.

It is an uncommon discovery since most skimmer devices are found outside of the pump. And with the Bluetooth device, the thieves were able to get customers confidential information without ever coming back.

"Whoever installed it doesn't have to retrieve the device itself to gain the person's information that entered the card in," Vallin explained.

"The technology out there nowadays is booming," TJ Haley of Hanford said. "People out there are just trying to get everybody's money."

Now customers are on high alert. Some saying after this experience, they will start paying inside.

"It's called a big risk, so now we pay inside," Richard Bolen said. "I won't pay outside no more."

"I work late, so when I get off at 9 o'clock, I stop to get gas," Bolen's wife Leann added. "I don't even go inside, so I just pay at the pumps, but I'm not going to do that anymore."

At this time police have not been made aware of any victims, but they are encouraging people who choose to pay at the pump to look for any evidence of tampering.

They say the best option to avoid skimmers altogether is to pay inside the store.
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