Credit card skimmers are devices that steal your credit card magnetic stripe information, which are then used by criminals. One common location of the skimmers are at gas stations, where there are many credit card readers, no attendant nearby, and lots of transactions. The skimmers come in many forms, but one of the most commonly reported are those that plug into the pump, between the card reader and the pump controller.

Many of these skimmers can be identified by turning on your phone’s blue tooth function, and seeing if there are any nearby bluetooth devices you can connect to — there shouldn’t be any with unidentifiable names (like HC-05 or HC-06, for instance). If there are, report it to the gas station attendant to look into further.

For a simpler way to identify potential skimmers with bluetooth module, the electronics retailer Spark Fun has released an application for Android phones to detect known skimmers. It won’t find them all, but hopefully will help reduce the time to detect and shut down skimmers.

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