OB residents say gas station skimmers on rise

Posted at 10:57 PM, Feb 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 02:17:44-05

An Ocean Beach woman is warning people before they buy their next tank of gas.

"I was pissed!" Jennifer Carter said.

Carter believes she was the victim of a gas station skimmer at USA Gas Station at Newport Avenue and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard in Ocean Beach.

"As soon as I swiped my card I thought something was off and I instantly regretted it," she said. "It just looked off."

A week later, someone tried to charge $400 on her credit card at a Target in Culver City.

"They took my information from the skimmer and created their own card instantly," Carter said. "So I had my card physically in my possession and they were using an exact copy of it."

The FBI showed 10News what a skimmer actually looks like. Special Agent Chris Christopherson says thieves slip it inside the gas pump and it steals your credit card information.

"One of the reasons why we have gloves is later on we actually hope to conduct some sort of fingerprint analysis and verify who's touched this, built it," Christopherson said.

Carter was lucky; her bank stopped the fake charges.

"They completely shut my card down, gave me a new card, took their sweet time giving me a new card," she said. "So I had to use cash for like literally two weeks."

Dozens of other people who live in Ocean Beach say the same thing has happened to them at USA Gas Station and at the Shell station down the street.

"It's not a great feeling when someone tries to, you know, access and hack your bank account," Carter said.

The best way to avoid a skimmer is to pay inside or with cash. A police report has been filed for an investigation into possible skimming.