BOULDER, Colo. - A company based in Boulder has created a new app that can detect a credit card skimmer at gas stations.
SparkFun Electronics was contacted by local law enforcement and provided with skimming devices. With information from those devices, they designed an app for your phone that can be used to detect skimmers.
The app is called Skimmer Scanner and is available for Android devices. It works by searching for Bluetooth transmission, which is how skimmers typically transmit your credit card information. If the pump has a card skimmer, the app will send you an alert.
"We had one of the devices that had been removed from the gas pump so we were able to power that up on the workbench and then tried to communicate with it" said Nick Poole with SparkFun Electronics. "As soon as we found that it was possible -- we thought, 'Everyone has a cell phone with Bluetooth,' so you should be able to detect this no problem."
Poole added that the app might not detect a skimmer 100 percent of the time because there are different types of skimmers.
The company also said many of their consumers have said the app alerted them to a skimmer and likely saved them from getting scammed.