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Gas isn't the only thing to watch for at the pump

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Posted at 12:33 PM, Jul 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 12:33:23-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - We've been talking a lot about gas lately, but the cost isn't the only thing you need to be thinking about at the pump.

Virginia Beach Police say they are seeing an increase in crime at stations across the city.

"Unfortunately, a lot of the crimes that we're seeing are crimes of opportunity [because] people are engaged on their cell phones [or] doing a lot of things at once," said Lt. Brad Wesseler, with the Virginia Beach Police Department.

If your back is turned or you're looking at your phone, Wesseler said it could give someone the time to open your door and grab what's inside.

"We're just really encouraging people to put the phone down and really [stay] focused on getting gas," Wesseler told Problem Solver, Erin Miller.

Police are also encouraging customers to watch out for skimmers, which are devices placed on card readers that steal information.

"Chips" installed on newer cards have helped curb the problem, but not entirely. To protect yourself, wiggle the existing card reader and check the terminals on other pumps to see if they look different in any way.

While we're mentioning credit and debit cards, also be sure to check your bank statements.

"Stations now have started to increase the the authorization hold because the high price of gasoline. People are having to pay more for the same amount of fuel," said Patrick De Haan, Head of Petroleum Analysis GasBuddy.

De Haan said stations are placing the short-term hold to make sure customer's have enough money to pay for the gas. To avoid this from happening to you, and buying fuel without a hold, you can pay with cash or go inside and ask the cashier for a specific amount.

However, if you're looking to save a few cents, De Haan said," right now the trend is for falling prices. This coming weekend will be lower than where they are now."

When you do head back to the pump, police encourage customers and gas station owners to be aware.

Beach Police pointing to last month when two men used a remote device to hack the pumps at the CITGO gas station on 1405 North Great Neck Road in Virginia Beach and steal more than $14,000 worth of fuel.

"The criminals are becoming very sophisticated in technology they're using," said Wesseler. "But our technology has come leaps and bounds so we can better allocate our officers."