WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Secret Service says it is investigating the nationwide use of gas-pump skimming devices that steal credit card numbers.
The agency told USA Today that scams in several states have netted crooks hundreds of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting pay-at-the-pump customers.
"Card fraud at gas pumps is a significant problem and that's because of the unintended nature of the checkout devices," James Van Dyke, president of a consulting firm that focuses on fraud prevention, told the newspaper. "Essentially, every gas pump is an electronic cash register."
The scam relies on small hard-to-detect electronic devices that are attached to the card readers on gas pumps. The devises capture the data on the card's magnetic strip as it is passed through the slot.
USA Today said sizable incidents of skimming were under way in at least five states.