PHOENIX — Six people have been indicted for allegedly participating in an illegal credit-card gas skimmer ring, according to the Arizona attorney general's office. The charges include fraudulent schemes and artifices, conspiracy, illegally conducting an enterprise, computer tampering, organized retail theft and taking the identity of another person.
The defendants’ alleged participation involved a scheme to purchase diesel fuel for resale with stolen credit-card information between April 11, 2018, and Dec. 20, 2018.
The investigation was performed by the Arizona Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (ADOT) in partnership with the Kroger Co. Organized Retail Crime Team and the state office of the attorney general.
In February 2018, ADOT detectives discovered tractor trailers at a private storage lot being fueled from hidden auxiliary fuel tanks contained on the trucks. The investigation identified several individuals and seven load vehicles with auxiliary fuel tanks allegedly involved in the scheme.
The individuals are accused of obtaining stolen credit-card information that was encoded onto a new card, and then using the card at the pump to purchase fuel. The indictment alleges that on 31 separate occasions, the illegal enterprise used the credit-card information of approximately 40 different individuals at 12 different gas stations in the Phoenix area, including Circle K, Fry’s Fuel, Shell and QuikTrip.
So far in 2019, 40 skimmers have been found in Arizona fuel dispensers and reported to the Arizona Department of Agriculture Weights and Measures.
As part of the October 2020 deadline for outdoor fuel pump security, retailers must upgrade their dispensers and point-of-sale equipment to reduce fraud in the forecourt or be held liable for fraudulent activity that occurs because the dispenser has not been upgraded.