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article imageScammers mess with gas pumps and pay only 'pennies on the dollar'

By Leigh Goessl     Mar 21, 2012 in Crime
Decatur - Scammers, who presumably are not keen on paying the high prices at the pump, have developed a creative way to bypass giving in to those elevated prices.
Usually gas station owners deal with "gas drive-offs," however, one Georgia proprietor said currently gas thieves are getting "creative." What these resourceful thieves are doing is messing with gas pumps so prices charged are far lower than the going rate.
According to The Consumerist, scammers are stealing thousands of dollars of fuel this way. Their method is not even all that complicated, all it takes is the ability to operate a screwdriver.
What the thieves are doing is prying open the covers of older gas pumps and "tampering with a cog" which triggers the price meter to allow the gas to flow at a lower rate. With this fiddling, the individuals rigging the pumps are paying only "pennies on the dollar," said one gas station owner reported Atlanta's WSB-TV Channel 2.
"For every person that's pumping gas they're getting twice or thrice the amount of gas," he said. "For $5 they're getting $20 to $25 worth of gas." Channel 2 noted the proprietor declined to be identified or share his location as to not encourage more thievery.
In total the man said he's lost over $16,000 just this week, and one of the thieves stole 400 gallons in a half hour, and any customers using the pump after the initial theft are paying the decreased prices.
Gas station owner installed metal braces as a deterrent for thieves to tamper with his pumps
Gas station owner installed metal braces as a deterrent for thieves to tamper with his pumps
Screen shot from CBS WSB-TV
Unfortunately this kind of theft is not detected until the end of the week when tallies and inventories are figured, and the thief, long gone.
This scam is the latest of many where gas stations are concerned, however usually it's the customer also getting scammed when their credit or debit information is pilfered by devices, called "skimmers" installed by scammers on top of or inside of the gas pumps.
Unfortunately, skimmers are being installed at ATMs, or even by employees of places of business.
However, modifying gas pumps is a new method to steal. The gas station owner in Georgia warns others of falling victim and has reinforced his pumps with metal braces.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration via Consumer Reports, the average price for gas in the U.S. was at $3.87 last week, up .04 from the previous week. At this time last year the national average in the U.S. was 31 cents lower than current prices.
More about Scammers, Gas, Gas pumps, gas stations, Gas prices
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