BARTLETT, TN (WMC) - An available pump and cheap gas are what most drivers look for when their tanks run empty. However, you could be duped by thieves if you're not looking closely enough at the pump itself.
"Normally I would be looking at just that they have been inspected, not paying attention to the seal itself," driver Alonzo Thompson said.
Broken inspection stickers across the payment card door is just one sign that someone has tampered with the gas pump.
"You know, I've seen it on the news, but I really don't know what to look for," Terry Sage said.
Recently, Bartlett Police Department was alerted to skimming devices found at two different gas stations. One was at a Shell station on Kirby Whitten Road and Summer Avenue, and three were found at another Shell gas station near the busy intersection of Highway 64 and Germantown Parkway.
"We have seen a definite uptick in gas pump skimming," said David Stutheit, assistant special agent in charge of the Secret Service's Memphis field office. "So we are trying to get out in front of it."
U.S Secret Service agents work with police in skimming investigations and they say the best line of defense is education.
Experts who routinely search for skimming devices said crooks like to target high-volume stores. These days, they are getting one to two calls a week to check for possible skimming devices found around Memphis.
"Oh definitely, I will be paying attention to it more often, making sure there is actually a seal you know on the pump," Thompson said.
Skimming technology has advanced to the point that thieves never have to return to pick up their skimmers. Now, they can remotely access the devices that swipe your personal information.
Experts said this should serve as a good reminder to use credit cards when you fill up your gas tank.