Protect yourself from wire fraud at Oklahoma gas stations

Protect yourself from wire fraud at Oklahoma gas stations

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Hundreds of customers fall victim at the pump.

Federal prosecutors say 50-year-old Kevin Konstantino and 36-year-old Elvin Alisuretove from Washington state used a device to steal customers credit or debit card information.

Investigators say this happened while the customers filled up at Murphy USA locations around the state.

They believe the two used skimming devices to get personal information including pin numbers, then used that information to make fake cards they used at ATMs on the West Coast.

Prosecutors say the suspects took more than $400,000 from victims in several states including Oklahoma.

Both face conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

With technology getting better and better it can be impossible to tell if a pump is tampered with at your local gas station.

But there are ways you can protect yourself.

"Oklahoma City is a growing city and with growth comes these additional problems," said Special Agent David Allison with the OKC Branch of the Secret Service.

The Secret Service says with advances in technology wire fraud is easier than ever. And people around the metro have their own ideas.

From conspiracies:

"They could be scanning me right now, I wouldn't even know it," joked Bill Armstrong.

To myths: 

"A detective told me to always go to the middle pumps," said Grant Wilson.

To relative indifference:

"It's always a thought, but unless something happens I just don't worry about it," said Kathryn Dale.

But investigators say it's worth taking precautions.

"A lot of the times they'll get your credit card information and they'll apply for more credit in your name," warned Allison.

He says a credit card can be safer than a debit card.

"If you use a debit card there's a chance that they could capture your pin when you type it in and have even more access to your account," he said.

The best way to protect yourself is to look over your statements and check your credit score regularly for any unknown charges or claims. If you catch it right away it will be a lot easier to dispute, said Allison.

If you suspect fraud, you should contact three groups:
Your credit card company, local law enforcement and the credit bureau.

And, unfortunately, we should expect more of these types of crimes.

"The sentencing is lower than if you were to go in and hold up a liquor store or if you were on the street selling drugs," said Allison, about why we're seeing more and more criminals turn to fraud to get money.

These kind of crooks only look at around one to five years in prison, and that's often if they're repeat offenders. That's why it's good to have a plan.

"I have alerts set up on my iphone," Armstrong said.

"I've got apps on my phone that pretty much any time I use my debit card or credit card it shows up," said Wilson.

Because, as many people know, you don't have to be tech-savvy to be a victim of someone who is.

For more information from the Federal Trade Commission visit their website.

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