Maine state officials say credit card skimming is taking place at gas stations throughout the state. 

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Division of Quality Assurance says it is alerting the public in the wake of illegal gas station skimmers found by investigators in Brewer this week.

Skimming involves getting private information about somebody else's credit card used in an otherwise normal transaction using a small electronic device to swipe and store hundreds of victims’ card numbers. Skimming can occur at gas stations when a third-party card-reading device is installed either outside or inside a fuel dispenser or other card-swiping terminal.

Card Guard

The agency's inspectors who check gas pumps for accuracy also search for skimmers, which the state says is a growing problem in Maine.

Agriculture Commissioner Walt Whitcomb says inspectors are also working with gas station owners to prevent skimming.

Since early 2015, inspectors have been provided with:

  • News accounts from other states involving gas station skimmers
  • Presentations developed by other states addressing the problem
  • Overviews of data skimmers in motor fuel dispensers
  • Procedural guides for when suspected gasoline skimmers are discovered
  • FBI generated information on skimmers
  • Tips on how consumers and station owners can protect themselves
  • The National Crime Victimization Survey estimates that each victim of account takeover fraud experiences approximately $1,103 in direct and indirect losses
  • Industry estimates suggest that there are roughly 100 card numbers on each skimmer found
  • The rough estimate of direct and indirect economic loss in $110,300 per skimmer