More ‘skimmers’ found in local area

FONDA — County Executive Matthew L. Ossenfort announced on Wednesday that the County’s Department of Weights & Measures has reported three separate incidents this month where skimming devices have been found at three different local convenience stores.

According to the county, the skimmers were found at three locations in Amsterdam and one in the village of Fonda. Skimmers are electronic credit card readers that thieves use to attempt to capture personal identification numbers from consumers.

“The county is following the proper protocol and working with the FBI and New York state to remove these devices and help keep people’s personal information protected,” Ossenfort said in a news release. “The Department of Weights & Measures from both Montgomery and Fulton counties are working together to combat this issue and we are working diligently to increase routine checks for this type of nefarious activity.”

Both Montgomery and Fulton counties have been doing routine checks for skimming devices for more than a year.

Last spring, at a regional Weights & Measures meeting in Queensbury, the state’s Division of Bureau of Weights and Measures identified that the skimming fraud was beginning to occur across the state. Since that point, Montgomery County Director Raymond J. Borst and Fulton County Director James P. Callery have worked together to implement routine checks of fuel dispensers and ATMs throughout the two-county region.

Earlier this month, the county’s Department of Weights & Measurers was contacted by WEX Fleet Card Fraud Department, which had noticed some strange activity stemming from a convenience store in Amsterdam. Three skimming devices were found, processed by the Amsterdam Police Department and then sent to the state laboratory for possible DNA testing.

Last week, following an alert from the FBI that a ring of skimming activity had been popping up in the Northeast, Borst came across a convenience store in Fonda, where all six gas pumps had been altered. The FBI was contacted and later that morning was on scene, getting pictures and taking the skimmers into evidence.

According to the county, these devices are nearly impossible for the customer to see because they are put inside the gas pump. If something appears off or looks like it has been tampered with, alert an employee or call police. The county urges people to be cautious, stay alert and regularly check for any suspicious activity on personal accounts. Consumers may also use cash or pay inside the store, if possible, as to avoid using the outside credit card reader.

By Patricia Older

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