Watsonville Police are being assisted by the Secret Service in investigating several credit card scammers that have targeted gas pumps at East Lake Gas in Watsonville. — Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

Watsonville police are warning residents to be on the lookout for credit card skimmers, devices often installed on gas pumps by criminals to steal credit card information.

According to Watsonville Police spokeswoman Michelle Pulido, five of the devices were found Tuesday on pumps at East Lake Gas at 676 East Lake Ave. 

Investigators believe the suspects used a universal key to access the pumps and install the devices. 

A few customers have already reported seeing strange activity on their bank accounts after using their credit or debit cards at the station, Pulido said.

Because the crime involves bank cards, WPD has contacted the Secret Service, a federal agency run by the Department of Homeland Security, Pulido said. 

Detectives did not find skimmers at any other gas station in the city. 

Police recommend that everyone check their accounts frequently for fraudulent charges.

WPD officer Andre Burke warned customers to look for anything that looks out of the ordinary with gas pumps.

“If you see something out of the ordinary, if it’s a little loose, possibly just go inside and pay inside or contact whoever is working inside,” he said. 

Pulido said that, with the holiday season approaching, customers should be more wary of potential crimes such as card skimmers and smash-and-grab burglaries.

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General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA. https://pajaronian.com/r-p-reporter-honored-by-csba/


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