San Diego-Based 7-Eleven Stores Accused Of Credit Card Skimming

April 10, 2024

A viral video circulating online shows a man discovering a credit card skimming device at a San Diego 7-Eleven store, and several others have come forward with similar accusations in the past month. 

In an online video posted by Youtube account @scam-awareness, who goes by Mr. Pete, a person video tapes an encounter where he finds a credit card skimmer device at what he claims is a San Diego 7-Eleven. When he alerts the cashier, the employee immediately yanks the device from the man's hand and claims he will alert authorities. 

Credit card skimming technology involves the use of small devices or software to steal credit card information during legitimate transactions. Skimmers are small, inconspicuous devices that are often attached to legitimate card readers, such as those on ATMs, gas pumps, or point-of-sale terminals. These devices can be overlaid on top of the existing card reader or inserted inside the machine.

When a card is swiped or inserted into a compromised card reader, the skimmer captures the card's magnetic stripe data. This includes the card number, expiration date, and sometimes the cardholder's name, PIN number and zip code. Skimmers can either store the stolen data locally for later retrieval by the criminal, or they can transmit it wirelessly in real-time via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or GSM technology. This allows the criminal to access the stolen information remotely without needing physical access to the skimmer. Once the credit card data is obtained, it can be used to create counterfeit cards or for unauthorized online transactions. Criminals may also sell the stolen information on the dark web to other fraudsters.

"7-11 card skimmers back at it, store is Washington and First, El Cajon," reads a post on a San Diego subreddit. "According to an employee this is a corporate store and not a franchise. They are making no attempts to secure their machines. It happened when roommate was loading a netspend card here. Protect yourself and try and only use cash at this location. They really should be held responsible, maybe that will make them secure the machines."

A card skimmer is a device placed discreetly atop a genuince point-of-sale system that records a customer's credit card information, including PIN numbers and zip codes. Once the patron scans their card and inputs their information, the keypad records the details and perpetrators use the information to scam the card holder. 

Two separate Reddit threads claim to have uncovered card skimming technology at the 7-Eleven branch at Washington and First in El Cajon. The most recent was posted on April 5 with another published one month ago. A third Reddit thread, also posted a month ago, claims to have found a card skimmer at the 7-Eleven outpost on Genessee Avenue. There is also another Reddit thread which accuses the 7-Eleven off 43rd Street in National City of having a card skimming device. 

Skimmers are often designed to be discreet and difficult to detect. However, there are some signs that consumers can look out for, such as loose or unusually bulky card readers, tampered security seals, or suspicious devices attached to ATMs or gas pumps. Regularly checking bank statements for unauthorized transactions is also important for detecting potential fraud.

Efforts to combat credit card skimming include the use of chip-enabled cards, which are more secure than traditional magnetic stripe cards, as well as improved security measures on ATMs and point-of-sale terminals. Additionally, increased awareness and vigilance among consumers and merchants can help prevent falling victim to skimming attacks.