Mercer County purchases devices to detect credit card skimmers

Inspectors demonstrate the BlueSleuth at a gas pump.

Mercer County has purchased half a dozen devices that will help investigators find credit card skimmers that steal customer information at gas pumps and other payment machines.

The BlueSleuth locator tool scans an area for all nearby Bluetooth devices. Based on signal strength, the technology can zero in on a suspicious device such as a credit card skimmer hidden inside a gas pump. The skimmer installed by a thief records and stores the credit card data, and the thief can return to capture the stolen credit card numbers over Bluetooth without ever touching the pump again.

The county purchased the BlueSleuth devices from Berkeley Varitronics Systems of Metuchen for $995 each.

Inspectors with the Mercer County Division of Consumer Affairs will be able to use the devices when they are making routine gas station inspections.

If a card skimmer is detected by inspectors, the matter will be referred to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said a single compromised gas pump can capture data from 30 to 100 credit cards per day.