Authorities say that people who purchased gas at stations near the freeway should check their credit card statements because an unidentified station discovered the two devices on their pumps.
"Card users would never have seen the 'skimmers.' The thieves have the technology to place them inside the gas pump," Boise Financial Crimes Detective Wade Spain said. "The only way a citizen will know they've been victimized is to see a charge they didn't make on the statement from their bank or financial institution."
Police declined to identify the station or even say what neighborhood it's in, urging that everybody who uses their card at a gas pump should be aware because skimmers can operate anywhere in the Treasure Valley.
If you see a charge you know you didn't make, call your bank or credit card issuer immediately, Spain said.
A technician called in to fix malfunctioning pumps at the station found the devices Tuesday, police said. They don't know how many customers might have been victimized.
A skimmer steals financial data from a credit or debit card used at a gas pump, ATM or similar machine. The devices are inserted into the card readers at gas pumps, taking information from the magnetic strips and thereby giving thieves access to that account. Police say you don't need to use your PIN for thieves to get your accounts.
Charley Jones, president of Stinker Stores, said skimming is a continuing problem for the industry, but steps can be taken to protect consumers. The store where the skimmers were found Tuesday was not a Stinker locations, Jones said.
Pumps at Stinker stores have security seals on the card readers. If anyone tries to add a skimmer, the seals will break. Those seals are checked by employees at the beginning of each shift, Jones said.
Stinker stores also have replaced some card readers with newer models that have green LED lights. If anyone tries to manipulate the readers, the light goes red and the reader won't work, Jones said. Those readers are on pumps at about half of the 30 Stinker stations in the Valley.
Criminals who run skimmer scams continue to get better at what they do, Jones said, so retail owners have to be vigilant to keep up.
Detectives say that thieves are able to install skimmers quickly, but removing them takes longer. Anyone who sees suspicious activity at gas pumps should call 911. Anyone with information on these types of crimes can call Crime Stoppers at 343-2677.
Police had not arrested anyone in connection with the skimmer scam as of Wednesday night.
Patrick Orr: 377-6219, Twitter: @IDS_Orr