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Card skimmer found at Hwy 280 gas station unlike any seen before, Secret Service says

The U.S. Secret Service told ABC 33/40 News it had not seen a card skimmer quite like the one found by a customer Wednesday at a gas station on Highway 280. (Courtesy: Johnny Chergotakos)

The U.S. Secret Service said it had not seen a skimmer like the one discovered Wednesday by a customer at a gas station along Highway 280.

Johnny Chergotakos said he was checking out at the register of RaceWay gas station when he noticed something wrong as he swiped his credit card.

"At first I thought I just broke their machine.”

The machine was working. So was the skimmer placed over it. Chergotakos documented his discovery on Facebook after he notified the police and the gas station owner.

"They seemed as shocked as me. I don't think they had any knowledge of it being there," said Chergotakos of the cashier's reaction.

The Secret Service confirms surveillance video inside the store shows a person coming into the store late at night and installing the skimmer. The agency did not say how long it had been there.

"Those things are pretty simple to install, especially by someone who knows what they're doing that can have that thing on and running in just a matter of seconds," said Hoover Police Lt. Keith Czeskleba. The Hoover Police Department houses much of the operations for the Jefferson County Regional Financial Crimes Task Force.

Card skimmers have been a costly problem for years but investigators tell ABC 33/40 News they cannot recall a time when one was placed at a register's card machine. The skimmer was fastened with double-sided tape according to the investigator. Some skimmers store a card's information while others transmit them through a wireless connection.

Chergotakos said checking out at a register will never be the same,

"I've lost my wallet with cash money in it and say, 'I'm never carrying cash.' And now this happens with a debit card and I say, 'I'm never going to carry debit.' So I don't know what I'm going to do. I may just start carrying cryptocurrency."

The Secret Service said anyone who has visited the gas station recently should check their bank accounts for fraudulent charges.

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