wenger828183 karma2013-10-22 15:05:00 UTC
Ok, here's the story, sorta long too. It started I believe 3 years ago when a security rep (i think that was his position) from AMEX showed up and wanted to investigate a bunch of AMEX cards that were stolen and used to purchase various things (electronics mainly, tv's etc) that were all traced back to being used here. He gave me all the papers with some of the credit card info, enough for me to look at my system and see if they were used here. Sure enough, they were all used on one day in particular (i dont remember dates sorry), but unfortunately he had showed up 2 months after they were used, i was able to pinpoint all the credit cards being used on one pump, which led to me knowing that a credit card skimmer was at one point installed in my pump (bear in mind, this was 2 months after the fact).
We had gotten warning from my territory manager that credit card skimming incidences were on the rise, particuarly stations with a certain model pump, they had sent pictures of us of the devices which really looked like a simple USB drive hooked up in series with the credit card reader machine, the perps had access because all the keys for the pumps were the same (i guess attendants working at other stations were hired to steal the keys, since then, all the locks were required to be changed). Anyways, we are not a 24 hrs station so i suspected that the skimmer was left in for a day and then taken out at night, unfortunately my cameras hadn't saved the recordings from that far back, I had reported it but there was nothing we could really do.
Now this is where it sorta starts to get crazy.. fast forward a month or two after the visit from the AMEX account security guy, a good friend of mine was working for me at the time and he was pumping gas for me. The pumps happened to have been acting funny that day and he jokingly said "maybe there's a skimmer in the pumps?" (I had told him about the credit card skimmers and how a few stations around the area have had them a couple days prior), so i said "hey, what the hell, let me just check." Lo and behold, the first pump I checked (which was the one i pinpointed all the other credit cards being used on about 4-5 months prior to this), I find a foreign object wrapped in black electric tape, wires coming out of both ends, hooked up in series to my credit card reader, it had a little LED light on it and what looked like (from what i remember) a mini USB pigtail coming out of it. I started fondling it a bit before i realized, holy crap, its a skimmer (i shouldn't have touched it).
Right away, i call the police, a cop is sent up and he is clueless as to what it is or the fact that these things even existed. Detectives came up and i mentioned how this has been a problem on the rise, and because most stations that were getting hit around here (were not open 24 hrs) they would never catch them because they'd only leave them in for the day and the chances of us opening up the pumps (to change paper or for whatever reason) was very low for those random days they were placed.
I checked my camera recordings for the night before that business day and I can make out two silohuettes of people going to that pump (unfortunately my cameras then weren't that great at night and weren't aimed at that particular direction, since then i've upgraded to a much better system). I told the detective that I had seen on the cameras 2 guys come at night and that I can guarantee you that someone at night will probably come back in an attempt to retrieve it. So they set up 3 unmarked cars, 2 in my lot (parked in the mix of my customers cars) and one in the station adjacent to my lot. The detectives had removed the skimmer at the time for evidence. I had also set up my cameras to aim at the pumps so I can see what happened.
While watching the video, up to around 1AM, i saw one cop car leave, so we were left with two staking the place out. At around 2:35am, two guys walk up to the pump (could barely make them out) and you see them go up to the pump that the skimmer was installed in, and you can see them opening up the pump, at that point I see on the cameras them running and what looked like flash lights light up the ground, you see two cops chasing after them.
The next day, cops came back and told me unfortunately they didn't catch them (i dont know how!) but managed to get a hat that fell off of one of the perps head, and they had left the key they used in the pump. They had since sent the hat off to wherever to get it DNA tested (secret service?) and the key for fingerprints. The next day, the main judge of our town (who is a very good customer of mine) came up and told me how he was up all night signing documents for the secret service, and how they were taking care of the matter. Since then, i haven't had any updates as to who it was, if they found the guys or what, but I know, it won't happen again since we've upgraded everything and changed out all the locks.
Apparently this was a big deal, since these guys were so elusive in terms of how random and how infrequently they would hit stations, being that we never are inside those pumps unless to change paper. This was the first time they had some sort of lead to this problem and actually have the skimmer itself, which i'm sure they can use to trace its origins.
PS: sorry for grammatical errors or whatever, i'm actually working right now and sorta quickly typed this whole thing up
TL;DR: Suspected C.C's were getting stolen via a skimmer in pumps, couple months later pumps start acting up, coworker jokes about skimmer being installed, check a random pump and the first one I open up, I see a skimmer, police set up over night and hid in my lot to wait for perps. did not catch them
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wenger82874 karma2013-10-22 16:35:16 UTC
Yes I sorta agree, but don't get me wrong, I have to bust my ass to keep this business going. My parents also started from nothing being immigrants from Taiwan. My mom comes from a family of 8 siblings, all had to work to keep the family going being that my grandfather was disabled and they had all moved out of Taiwan. She tells me stories of her when she was 8 years old taking the train by herself to work in the city just to bring some money back to the family. She worked her way up to eventually owning a trucking business and has since then provided for me. Money makes money but it has to start from nothing at some point
wenger82869 karma2014-10-24 18:06:09 UTC
how often do you wash your hair? it looks so luscious
wenger82859 karma2013-10-22 15:23:01 UTC
Well, sorta got lucky. My family had been coming to this station for over 25 years and have known the previous owner for a very long time. I had worked here part time in high school and part time while in college (only one year of college). He had always told my parents to buy the station. My auto experience comes from just being very mechanically inclined (i guess i'm pretty gifted when it comes to figuring problems out), some technical schooling (but really didn't learn much from that), my part time experience here and mostly, my experience working at a shop that specialized in Japanese cars in Parsipanny.
I got laid off that shop around 08' and called the owner (of the station I'm at now) for a job again, and he had sent me to his new station he had purchased in Stirling NJ. Thats where I got my experience running a station. When he sent me there, that station was new for him, it had a C-store and a 4 bay shop, also at the time I was there, he had hired a new attendant which I had to train (I had NO idea how to operate the old G-site system that station used).
A couple months into that, the owner was impressed with how I got the station running well and how many new repair customers I had aquired (the previous mechanic/manager who was there was a hack mechanic and had went back to visit his home country for a couple months, which is why he needed me there), and had asked if I was interested in purchasing the location I'm at now because he was confident that I'd be able to handle it. I mention it to my parents and they liked the idea.
My family is pretty comfortable financially and with some help from other family members and a partner (a very very close family friend) we were able to acquire the business. After acquiring the business, the oppurtunity opened up to purchase the land and same thing, with some help with the previous owner (who is like an uncle to me), family and having a partner, we were able to purchase the land as well.
wenger82837 karma2013-10-22 15:39:35 UTC
No threats. I believe there were a couple fights in line but I hadn't witnessed any. For the first 2 or 3 days after the storm, we were opened until we ran out of gas. After that, the town imposed a 6PM curfew and also did the odd/even plate thing.
The worse was walking down the line of cars and choosing which car to cut off the line at at closing time, I got alot of shit for that and actually was fearful of a mob riot or something haha.
For the first few days after the storm, we did run out of gas only because we were the only station with power (a customer told me we were the only station with power and gas in a 25 mile or something radius). Me and the station next door were open, but I was sort of prepared because I had asked for a full gas load delivery a day or two prior to the storm, they(the station next door to me) had ran out of gas only a couple hours into the day after the storm. When we ran out of gas for the first time (well not completely ran out, of course I saved a couple hundred gallons for family and friends), it took about a day to get a delivery. Since we were one of the very few stations with power, my supplier (who i couldn't get in touch with because their lines were down, we finally got in touch when by chance i called there fax lines) made sure they got me gas since they knew we were one of the few with power.
I was limiting customers to only $30 of gas maximum so as to get gas to as many people as possible, a lot of people were filling up even with 3/4's of a tank and a lot were showing up with shopping carts full of gas cans, barrels, whatever they could store gas in (i had a guy come by with 15 or so poland spring water cooler jugs haha)
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