EULESS, TX (KXAS/NBC) - Credit card thieves have found a new way to steal from you at the gas pump. The scheme is a twist on skimming, which uses a gadget on top of the card reader to copy your information.
Police in North Texas say some creative thieves used a universal key to open gas pumps and placed electronic skimmers inside, where they remained hidden for months until police closed in.
The gadgets wirelessly transmitted credit and debit card numbers, even personal identification numbers with nobody knowing.
"It was very high-tech. It involved thousands of victims spread all over North Texas," Detective John Haecker said.
Haecker, of the Euless Police Department, spent months helping the U.S. Secret Service investigate the scheme, which targeted gas stations all over North Texas.
It was so lucrative, police say, Aleksandr Goukasian, 51, and at least two others flew from Los Angeles all the way to North Texas to cash in.
They easily cloned the cards, police say, and at ATMs, they were as good as the real thing.
Goukasian pleaded guilty last week in a deal with federal prosecutors. He also faces additional state charges; the other suspects have not been arrested.
Detectives are tight-lipped about how they finally cracked the case, saying they want to keep their secrets for the next group of high-tech crooks.
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