MADISON, Wis. -

Criminals rigged more than a dozen gas station pumps in Wisconsin with a device to steal credit card information from customers, a state consumer protection group said.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection warned consumers Tuesday that 15 skimming devices were discovered at gas pumps in multiple counties over the last five weeks. Five of those devices were found in Madison.

"While the FBI is ongoing with this probe, you could take a look at other measures, like going into a convenience store, a gas station and pre-paying for gas," Madison Police Department spokesperson Joel DeSpain said.

DATCP said it only takes a few seconds for a criminal to install credit and debit card skimmers, which give thieves instant access to cardholders' financial information.

DATCP inspectors have documented from Aug. 5 through Sept. 9 that internal devices were discovered inside gas pumps.

Skimmers can be installed externally over the card reader, or internally, which the DATCP warning said typically includes a cable with an inline recording device that is run between the card reader and main board.

"A consumer may likely have no indication that they used an altered dispenser until they find a discrepancy on their bank statements," Division Administrator of Trade and Consumer Protection Frank Frassetto said.

While at the pump, consumers can protect themselves by lightly wiggling the card reader on the pump, DATCP said. External skimmers may feel loose and come off. One can also spot if the security seals have been broken on the dispenser cabinet. Other signs of tampering include visible tool marks or loose card readers. Anyone who spots something suspicious should tell the store manager and not use the pump.

Shoppers should also pay close attention to their monthly statements and regularly check credit reports to identify if there is any fraudulent activity, Frassetto said.

SKIMMERS FOUND IN MADISON:

  • Whitney Way Mobil, 699 S. Whitney Way, Madison
  • Farzo LLC, 699 S. Gammon Road, Madison
  • MS Mobil, 3019 E. Washington Ave., Madison
  • BP Amoco Food Shop, 318 S. Park St., Madison
  • Avenue Shell, 4821 E. Washington Ave., Madison

SKIMMERS FOUND IN ROCK COUNTY:

  • Newville Travel Plaza, 581 East Richardson Springs Road, Edgerton
  • J&R Express Mart, 650 Midland Road, Janesville
  • Milton Travel Center, 1262 Arthur Drive, Milton

OTHER CITIES:

  • Tri-Par Qwik Stop, 580 Orth Drive, Random Lake
  • Camp Douglas BP, 215 Highway 12/16, Camp Douglas
  • Dino Stop II, 1280 Wisconsin Dells Parkway, Lake Delton
  • 7 Eleven, 7610 W. Rawson Ave., Franklin
  • Open Pantry, 17235 Bluemound Road, Brookfield
  • BB Mobil Mart, 4320 W. Prospect Ave., Appleton
  • Jackson Street Mobil, 5171 Jackson St., Oshkosh

VIA MPD:

Skimming equipment is typically installed in about 1 minute or less, MPD says. Indications of skimming equipment may include connection pieces being puttied, taped or glued.