This is a news release from the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Department. It was NOT written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit community announcements to The Voice, email

ITHACA, N.Y. — The Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office would like the public to be aware of the current credit card scams that are taking place at local gas stations around the area. These scams are occurring through what are called “credit card skimmers”. These devices are installed and used to read the credit card number and log it for use at a later date.

Sheriff Lansing recommends a couple tricks and tips to help prevent this type of credit card theft:

1) Smartphone users can utilize their Bluetooth to catch a “credit card skimmer”. If a long series of numbers appears on the list of recognized Bluetooth connections on your device, it is likely that there is a “skimmer” on the pump. By enabling Bluetooth you are able to pick up the signal the “skimmer” is sending. If you see a number like this, go in to the establishment and inform the gas attendant immediately. Additionally, Android users have applications available to be able to detect skimmers; such as “Skimmer Scanner” by SparkX. This app uses the Bluetooth footprint to recognize if there is a “skimmer” on the gas pump.

2) Another way to avoid theft is going into the establishment and paying directly. Whether you are paying with a card or cash, you can always pay inside the building. This is the safest method.

“It is easy to fall prey to this kind of theft; take the extra precaution and double check your surroundings with these suggestions”, says Sheriff Lansing.

Featured image: “I think my fingers are in the wrong place” by frankieleon is licensed under CC BY 2.0