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Card skimmer found at second Bend 7-Eleven in six days; clerk says she was told to throw it away, quits instead

Bend 7-11 credit card skimmer former employee
Former employee
Former SE Third Street 7-Eleven employee shared with NewsChannel 21 photos she took of the credit card skimmer found on store machine

(Update: Police reviewing security video, looking into whether incidents connected)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – For the second time in less than a week, a 7-Eleven in Bend, this time on Southeast Third Street, has found a credit card skimmer on one of their credit card machines, police confirmed Thursday. And the clerk who found it says she quit after bosses told her to not contact police, but throw it away.

The discovery was reported by an employee around 4:45 p.m. Sunday at the store on Third Street, six days after the NW Galveston Avenue 7-Eleven contacted police late on Monday, Feb. 19 to report having found device on their credit card reader that can steal customers’ personal information.

The employee at the Third Street store told police the machines were being checked daily, as a result of the Galveston Avenue store’s discovery, so they didn’t believe it had been there for more than a day, Bend Police Communications Manager Sheila Miller told NewsChannel 21 Thursday morning.

"Our investigation is continuing," Miller said, "but after recovering this skimmer, our officer drove to each 7-Eleven in town to check the machines and found no additional skimmers. Our officer also advised Prineville and Redmond police departments to check their 7-Elevens and ensure there were no card skimmers on their machines."

Miller said police will be reviewing security video from both stores, as well as the possibility the two incidents are connected.

"The devices do appear to be similar, if not identical," she told NewsChannel 21 Friday.

NewsChannel 21 also spoke Thursday with a former employee who discovered the skimmer, and soon ended up quitting the job

Amber Crawn, who contacted NewsChannel 21, said after she found the device, her manager told her to report it to police. But while Crawn was on the phone with police, asking for an officer to retrieve it, she got two text messages from the manager. She had spoken with the store owner, who said not to report it, and instead to just throw it away.

Instead, Crawn quit.

"I just felt uneven, working there any more, so I just left," Crawn said. "It was a great job -- I mean, I love the customers, the job itself was fine."

We reached out to the store manager and owner, who said they could not comment due to corporate policy. They instead provided four phone numbers to a corporate office, but no one picked up on any of the lines. We left voice mails on two; the other two just rang without picking up.

The workers at the other convenience store on NW Galveston Avenue also contacted police around midnight Feb. 19, removed the skimmer and restored the device, Miller said last week.

“Our officers took the skimmer as evidence and are investigating the incident,” Miller told NewsChannel 21. “Anyone who has used a credit or debit card at the Westside 7-Eleven in the past week or so should check their cards for fraudulent charges."

Miller also said the skimmer device wasn’t an exact match for the card reader it was put on. It had a large chunk of black plastic that blocked the "tap to pay" area, forcing people to use the compromised card swipe.

"Our department has very rarely received calls reporting credit card skimmers," Miller said. "We don’t proactively warn businesses about these – that is certainly something businesses should be educating their staff about, though."

Miller advised how people can watch for something unusual that could indicate a skimmer is at work.

"People who are using their debit or credit card at a store can look for a point of sale or an ATM that just looks weird," she said. "Or maybe it's sitting higher than it seems like it should. Maybe it doesn't match the other point of sale that's at the next register, stuff like that."

Store credit card readers are just one way skimming can rip people off – they also are illegally installed at ATMs and gas pumps.

The FBI says skimming occurs when devices illegally installed on ATMs, point-of-sale (POS) terminals or fuel pumps capture data or record cardholders’ PINs. Criminals use the data to create fake debit or credit cards and then steal from victims’ accounts.

It is estimated that skimming costs financial institutions and consumers more than $1 billion each year, the FBI says. Here's more info from the FBI, including a diagram of how the devices are installed on ATMs and a list of recent arrests in skimming schemes around the country and overseas:

Fuel Pump Skimming 

  • Fuel pump skimmers are usually attached in the internal wiring of the machine and aren’t visible to the customer.
  • The skimming devices store data to be downloaded or wirelessly transferred later.

Tips When Using a Fuel Pump

  • Choose a fuel pump that is closer to the store and in direct view of the attendant. These pumps are less likely to be targets for skimmers.
  • Run your debit card as a credit card. If that’s not an option, cover the keypad when you enter your PIN.
  • Consider paying inside with the attendant, not outside at the pump.

ATM and POS Terminal Skimming 

  • ATM skimmer devices usually fit over the original card reader.
  • Some ATM skimmers are inserted in the card reader, placed in the terminal, or situated along exposed cables.
  • Pinhole cameras installed on ATMs record a customer entering their PIN. Pinhole camera placement varies widely.
  • In some cases, keypad overlays are used instead of pinhole cameras to records PINs. Keypad overlays record a customer’s keystrokes.
  • Skimming devices store data to be downloaded or wirelessly transferred later.

Tips When Using an ATM or POS Terminal

  • Inspect ATMs, POS terminals, and other card readers before using. Look for anything loose, crooked, damaged, or scratched. Don't use any card reader if you notice anything unusual.
  • Pull at the edges of the keypad before entering your PIN. Then, cover the keypad when you enter your PIN to prevent cameras from recording your entry.
  • Use ATMs in a well-lit, indoor location, which are less vulnerable targets.
  • Be alert for skimming devices in tourist areas, which are popular targets.
  • Use debit and credit cards with chip technology. In the U.S., there are fewer devices that steal chip data versus magnetic strip data.
  • Avoid using your debit card when you have linked accounts. Use a credit card instead.
  • Contact your financial institution if the ATM doesn't return your card after you end or cancel a transaction.
Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

Harley Coldiron

Tyson Beauchemin

Tyson Beauchemin is a photojournalist for NewsChannel 21


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