BROOKSVILLE, Fla. -- A manager at a Hess station doing routine inspections found skimming devices placed within the pumps, apparently before data thieves were able to retrieve the compromised data, according to the local sheriff's office.
The devices, placed into pumps to steal credit-card information, were located on pumps at a Hess location in Brooksville, Fla.
The skimmers were "internal," which means there is no way they could have been detected by the customer. Hernando County Sheriff's detectives said the skimmers were placed within the pumps between 6:00 p.m. on Feb. 18, 2014, and 7:15 a.m. on Feb. 19, 2014, and placed only on pumps Nos. 1, 2, 7 and 8.
The sheriff's department said it was working with the U.S. Secret Service, which did an analysis of the four skimming devices. It identified a total of 342 card numbers captured by the devices, but officials said there is no evidence that the equipment had wireless capabilities. As a result, detectives believe that the suspect or suspects did not obtain the credit-card numbers that were on the devices.
"We have security measures and procedures in place to combat would-be intruders," Denny Moynihan, a spokesperson for Woodbridge, N.J.-based Hess, told CSP Daily News. "Skimming is an issue that requires vigilance, and we take this issue very seriously."
In a statement to the public, officials with the sheriff's office asked the public: "If you patronized this particular Hess gas station during this time period, please check your receipt to determine which pump you used. If you used the pumps in question, contact your financial institution to cancel the card and have a new one issued."
In its statement, the local authorities said there are many ways that suspects can steal a customer's financial information. "Many of them are undetectable to you no matter how cautious you are," it said. "The best way to protect yourself is to check your financial accounts as often as possible to identify and report suspected fraud charges."
The statement emphasized, "This is no reflection on this or any other Hess gas station. Hess is not responsible for any losses, as they are also a victim in this crime. Please contact your local law enforcement agency to file a report if you have been victimized. Please do not call to file a report unless you receive fraudulent charges."
Hess, a global integrated energy company, is one of the largest independent gasoline and convenience store retailers on the East Coast, with approximately 1,360 Hess-branded locations. In March 2013, the company announced that it is divesting its retail operations to focus on becoming a pure exploration and production company.