For at least the second time this year, fraudsters have installed credit card skimmers at a gas station in Cherrydale.
Police say a skimming device was found inside a gas pump on the 4000 block of Old Dominion Drive yesterday afternoon, after customers of the gas station “reported fraudulent activity on their bank statements.”
The Arlington County Police Department is encouraging residents to take precautions when pumping gas, noting that new credit card skimmers are more sophisticated and “are undetectable without opening the pumps.”
More from an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department is warning the public about skimming devices used to steal banking and personal information.
At approximately 2:50 p.m. on Monday, September 18, police were dispatched to a gas station in the 4000 block of Old Dominion Drive for the report of a credit card skimming device located inside a gas pump. Citizens having used this location have reported fraudulent activity on their bank statements. Police are encouraging anyone who has used this gas station to review their bank statements for any fraudulent activity. If fraudulent activity is located, report to police by calling the Emergency Communication Center at 703-558-2222 or file an online police report.
Citizens can take the following crime prevention steps to avoid skimmers at gas stations:
- Skimming devices have become more sophisticated. In most cases, the skimmers are being placed inside the machine and are undetectable without opening the pumps.
- Pay inside at the gas station, rather than at the pump.
- Always pay using a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards have better fraud protection, and the money is not deducted immediately from an account.
- If using a debit card at the pump, choose to run it as a credit card instead of putting a PIN number in. That way, the PIN number is safe.
- Consider purchasing a refillable prepaid card to purchase gas at the pumps.
- If you have not already switched to a chip reader on your credit card, do so.
- Regularly check your bank statements and if you notice fraudulent activity, notify the bank so they can begin an investigation.
Criminals will use a variety of different scams and the Arlington County Police Department wants the public to remain alert so you don’t become a victim. Individuals seeking more information about fraud can visit our website or contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit at [email protected] .
Photo via Google Maps
Arlington County drivers will have been feeling the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma at the pump, with gas prices spiking by up to 30 cents a gallon or more locally.
Harvey hit oil refineries throughout Texas, with about one-quarter of oil refining capacity on the Gulf Coast being temporarily shut down, according to AAA. And in Arlington and elsewhere in the U.S., prices have spiked as the refineries get back up and running and damage to their systems and pipelines is assessed.
As of Wednesday, prices at the Shell and Speedway stations near Clarendon were $2.69 a gallon for unleaded gas, up from the former price of around $2.30 a gallon.
Despite a spike of around $0.30 cents since the hurricanes, Virginia remains one of the least expensive states to buy gas, at just over $2.50 a gallon on average, according to GasBuddy.com.
“As in any national or local state of emergency, AAA expects gas prices to be held in check up and down the gasoline supply chain, including prices set by refiners, distributors and dealers unless there is a clearly justifiable reason for an increase,” Jeanette Casselano, a AAA spokeswoman, said.
AAA is also warning anyone looking to buy a car to be careful of buying a flood-damaged used car. When major storms trigger flooding, thousands of totaled cars are shipped out of the affected area and can end up on the used car market elsewhere in the country. As many as a million vehicles may have been submerged by Harvey, AAA said last week.
Sometimes, buyers can be unaware a car has been repaired after being damaged by floodwater. Cars are meticulously dried out, scoured and scrubbed, then the title is “washed,” where it is moved from state to state until it is branded as repairable. They are then sold on by what AAA described as “unscrupulous sellers and fly-by-night operators.”
In a statement, John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s manager of public and government affairs, said:
“Use your five senses to detect telltale signs a vehicle has been flooded. Then use your sixth sense. Look for a waterline under the hood, undercarriage and bumpers; for mud and debris inside the cabin and trunk; for signs of rust, and for fogging inside the headlights and taillights. Use your sense of smell to detect the scent of disinfectants or cleansing agents used to cloak musty smells or mold or mildew. Touch the carpet or floor mats for residual traces of wetness or for signs that the carpets, seats and interiors were recently shampooed.
“Listen to the engine to check if it runs smoothly, or runs rough, or makes abnormal noises as it runs. Also listen to the sound system, to check if the electronics are working properly, because some mechanical and electronic components don’t survive flooding. Curiously, the term ‘lemon,’ a slang first used to describe a ‘worthless thing’ and then ‘a defective car,’ stems from a metaphor for ‘something that leaves a foul or bad taste in your mouth.’ That could happen to you if you buy a flood-damaged vehicle.
“Then rely upon your intuition, instincts, and ‘mother wit.’ Flooded cars are not always totaled and 50 percent are eventually resold. But most of all, use your common sense, and always purchase a vehicle history report or obtain a free VIN report for any vehicle suspected of having a watery past.”
After a spate of credit card skimming devices being discovered at gas stations across the region this year, including in Arlington, AAA Mid-Atlantic is warning motorists to be extra cautious when paying at the pump.
Several gas stations in Cherrydale as well as a Shell station on S. Four Mile Run Drive appeared to have been hit by the skimmers earlier this year. The skimmers are installed inside pumps and ATMs and copy customers’ card information for fraudulent use by criminals, who use Bluetooth technology to receive the stolen credit card numbers in seconds.
Anyone who suspects a skimmer in their gas pump can check by jiggling the credit card slot to see if it is askew or asymmetrical.
More from John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs:
The caper may crop up, lawmen forewarn, in other counties, cities and communities across the Greater Washington area, as dodgy perpetrators try to stay steps ahead of the reach of the law’s long arm and catch local consumers unawares as they purchase fuel. To safeguard your debit or credit card, and protect your finances, only buy gas at stations that affix security seals to the fuel dispenser. Always remember the motto ‘Let the buyer beware’ (caveat emptor) when making a gas transaction.
This year, skimmers have been discovered in parts of Maryland as well as Alexandria, Bailey’s Crossroads, Centreville, Tysons Corner, Vienna, and in areas around Prince William and Frederick counties. In the last 12 months, AAA said, Fairfax County Police have removed “21 individual skimmers from 15 different locations.”
AAA gave the following advice to those using self-service gas pumps:
- Park at pumps close to the front door of the gas station if possible. Criminals tend to install the skimmers on an outside pump farthest from where the clerks can see them.
- Check for Bluetooth skimmers embedded inside pumps at a gas station using your cell phone. Turn on your Bluetooth setting and look for a series of random numbers and letters. It may be a telltale sign a Bluetooth-enabled skimming device is interleaved into the gas kiosk. Do not connect to the Bluetooth device.
- Make sure the gas pump panel is closed and inspect the card reader at the pump. Look for signs of tampering. If it looks like it’s been opened or its security tape has been broken, inform the cashier and do not use that pump.
- Pay for your gas inside the store.
- Use cash instead of your credit card.
- Monitor your bank statements constantly. Look for overdraft notices. Skimming criminals may wait months before using your information and then go on a sudden spending spree.
Photo via Google Maps
It’s an ongoing problem: thieves using “skimmer” devices to steal credit and debit card information from unsuspecting customers of local businesses.
Arlington’s Cherrydale neighborhood appears to be the latest target of the skimmer scammers.
Reports a resident:
Maywood listserv lighting up with reports of multiple people getting their credit cards skimmed recently. Most people point to common thread of Liberty Gas station on Lee Highway (and a few other likely places in the area) as common thread. But that is not 100% clear.
In most cases, someone buys gas here. Later someone tries to purchase gas in California. Per Cherrydale listserv earlier, it looks like Arlington Police already found a “skimmer” machine earlier at Exxon across the street, but these are new reports from another potential location.
Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage confirmed at least a portion of the neighborhood scuttlebutt.
Here’s what she said via email to ARLnow.com:
Our Financial Crimes Unit received reports of possible credit card skimming at the Liberty Gas station. They responded to the area and during their investigation did not identify a point of compromise at this location. On March 9 at approximately 1:57 p.m., police responded to the Exxon gas station in the 4000 block of Old Dominion Drive for the report of a recovered credit card skimmer. That investigation is ongoing.
These type of cases are typically reported to police as credit card fraud and since we use credit cards for almost all purchases (online, in person, groceries, gas, etc.) the challenge is identifying the point of compromise. Turnaround time from point of compromise to first fraudulent use varies depending on how the suspects intend to use the stolen data. Police work closely with banking institutes who notify us when there is a trend with customers cards being compromised and they identify the location all the cards have in common.
There are some things citizens can do to protect themselves:
- You will not know if a gas pump has a skimmers. In most cases, the skimmers are being placed inside the machine.
- Pay inside at the gas station rather than at the pump.
- Always pay using credit rather than debit – it’s easier to dispute the charges and isn’t linked directly to your bank account.
- If you haven’t switched to a chip reader on your credit card, do so.
- Regularly check your bank statements and if you notice fraudulent activity, notify the bank so they can begin an investigation.
- If you find you were the victim of fraud, file a police report.
Photo via Google Maps
Skimmers Found on Gas Pumps — Arlington County Police are investigating credit card skimmers that were found on gas pumps at the Shell station on S. Four Mile Run Drive. [NBC Washington]
‘Project DAPS’ Now Online — An Arlington Public Library project to digitize records, photos and oral histories of the effort to desegregate schools in Arlington County went online last month. Arlington “defied the state” when the first black students began attending Stratford Junior High in January 1959, though it would take another 12 years before county schools were fully integrated. [WAMU]
Candidate Withdraws from Delegate Race — It’s the shortest local primary challenge in recent memory. Alexandria City School Board member Karen Graf, who announced on Feb. 6 that she was challenging Del. Mark Levine (D-45) for the Democratic nomination, has withdrawn from the race. Levine’s 45th House of Delegates district includes part of Arlington. [Alexandria News]
Some Still Skeptical of High Water Bills — “Ridiculous” is how one local civic association president described Arlington County’s conclusion that big spikes in water bills charged to some homeowners last year were not the result of systematic errors. [InsideNova]
New Vape Store in Ballston — “House of Vape, one of the fastest growing retail vape chains in the Mid-Atlantic region, has opened a new brick and mortar store in Arlington, Virginia, near the Ballston Metro station.” [PR Rocket]
Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak
The robbery happened just after 11 a.m. at the Sunoco at 1830 Fort Myer Drive, underneath the Arlington Temple United Methodist Church.
A man armed with a gun robbed the station, making off with hundreds of dollars in cash, according to initial reports. He was last seen fleeing southbound on N. Nash Street, on foot.
The suspect is described as a black male with short black hair, wearing a red shirt and black pants. He is said to be of medium height and medium build.
So far, police have been unable to locate the suspect.
Photo via Google Maps
It didn’t take long for the Exxon station at the corner of N. Glebe Road and Carlin Springs Road to close following the Arlington County Board’s approval of a new apartment development in October.
The station is now shuttered and surrounded by a fence, as is the adjacent Prestige Certified Motors dealership (which moved to 7700 Lee Highway in Falls Church) and a surface parking lot once used by Macy’s. The block-long parcel of land is located across from Ballston Common Mall.
To be built on the parcel: a six-story, 173-unit apartment building dubbed 672 Flats. The building will include two ground floor retail spaces, an underground parking garage with 177 spaces and 70 bicycle parking spots.
No word yet on a construction timeline. Developer Penrose Group has completed a number of other projects around Arlington, including Pike 3400 on Columbia Pike, the Latitude Apartments in Virginia Square and the Residence Inn in Courthouse.
Gas prices around Arlington are dropping as the price of crude oil continues to fall.
The price of a gallon of regular gasoline at the BP station, pictured here, has dropped to $1.91 from $1.97 just last month.
It’s tied for second-lowest price in the county, according to GasBuddy.com, with only Arlington Auto Service on Columbia Pike cheaper, at $1.83 per gallon.
With gas prices continuing to drop to levels reminiscent of the 1990s and, more recently, depths of the recession, do you find yourself driving more?
The FBI is seeking information about a man wanted for a string of eight gas station robberies, including one in Arlington.
The robberies occurred in Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, Richmond and Washington, D.C. One of these includes the late morning armed robbery at a Shell station on Lee Highway on Nov. 19.
The suspect is described as a white male, 30-40 years old and approximately six feet tall with facial hair. In surveillance footage of each of the robberies, he is seen wearing a gray pullover, khaki shorts or jeans, a blue baseball hat.
More information from a press release:
Law enforcement authorities are seeking an armed unknown male subject who has committed eight robberies at gas station convenience stores in Virginia and Washington, DC, between mid November and December of 2015.
The armed robberies occurred as follows:
- Nov. 15 at 11:48 am: Exxon Gas located at 8715 Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA
- Nov. 19 at 11:34 am: Shell Gas located at 5630 North Lee Highway, Arlington, VA
- Nov. 23 at 12:05 pm: Valero Gas located at 5516 Mudd Tavern Road, Woodford, VA
- Nov. 25 at 11:24 am: Mobil Gas located at 10800 Fairfax Boulevard, Fairfax, VA
- Nov. 27 at 11:55 am: Exxon Gas located at 3535 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
- Nov. 29 at 12:23 pm: Shell Gas located at 6519 Arlington Boulevard, Falls Church, VA
- Dec. 01 at 01:34 pm: Shell Gas located at 805 E. Parham Road, Richmond VA
- Dec. 04 at 08:59 pm: BP Gas located at 6701 Wilson Boulevard, Falls Church, VA
During each robbery, the subject purchased an item from the gas station attendant, produced a black handgun and reached over the counter to pull cash from the cash register.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the identification, arrest and conviction of this unknown robber.
SHOULD BE CONSIDERED ARMED AND DANGEROUS
The FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Arlington County and Fairfax County, Virginia Police Departments are investigating these robberies and request that anyone with information call the FBI at 202-278-2000. You may also contact your local FBI office; or submit a tip on the FBI’s website by visiting tips.fbi.gov.
Cheap Gas in Arlington — Just in time for your Thanksgiving vacation, there are a number of gas stations in Arlington at which you can fill up for less than $2.00 per gallon. At $1.97 per gallon, the BP station at the corner of S. Four Mile Run Drive and Walter Reed Drive, pictured above, isn’t the lowest in the county: that honor belongs to Arlington Auto Service on Columbia Pike, with its $1.87 per gallon gas. [Gas Buddy]
County Warns of Sewer Backup Risk — One thing that could ruin your Thanksgiving feast would be a sewer backup. Arlington County is warning residents that that could happen if they’re not careful about disposing of fats, oils and greases (FOG). The proper ways to dispose of FOG is to empty it into a container, like an empty can, and throw it in the trash — not rinsing it down the drain, where it could cling to and clog pipes. [Arlington County]
Suspicious Package Calls Up Since Paris Attacks — Calls for suspicious packages and suspicious circumstances are up in Arlington since the Paris terror attacks. That’s according to Arlington County Police Chief Jay Farr, who spoke to reporter Pete Williams during a segment on last night’s NBC Nightly News broadcast. The county has set up an online form for reporting possible terrorism-related activity, in addition to receiving such calls via the police non-emergency line: 703-558-2222.
Airport Workers Rally for Higher Wages — As hordes of passengers head to Reagan National Airport for holiday travel, airport workers are going on a hunger strike, pushing for a living wage. Tipped workers at the airport, like baggage handlers and wheelchair attendants, make as little as $3.77 an hour. [WUSA 9]
Lopez Named House Minority Whip — Arlington’s Del. Alfonso Lopez has been named the new Minority Whip of the Virginia House of Delegates Democratic Caucus. In a statement, Lopez said we will continue to work for “our vision of a Commonwealth that prioritizes public education, invests in transit and transportation infrastructure, protects our environment, preserves our social safety net, and grows a new Virginia economy to expand opportunity for all Virginians.” [Patch]
Van Doren Running for Reelection — Arlington School Board member Nancy Van Doren has announced that she will be running for reelection in 2016. Van Doren replaced Noah Simon on the School Board after a special election last year. She will be seeking her first full term. [InsideNova]
The robbery occurred around 11:30 a.m. at the Shell station at 5630 Lee Highway, near the intersection of N. Kensington Street.
According to scanner traffic, the suspect is a white male wearing gray pants and a gray sweater, described as approximately six feet tall and in his 40s.
Early reports said he robbed the station at gunpoint with a semi-automatic weapon and stole $400 to $500. Police said he fled the scene on foot, traveling south on N. Kensington.
A K-9 unit was dispatched from Alexandria to help the search. Police also went to the Rivendell School, which is across the street from the station, to notify administrators about the situation.
No injuries were reported.
Earlier this morning an armed robbery was reported at the Giant supermarket at 2901 S. Glebe Road near Arlington Ridge, prompting administrators to secure the building at nearby Gunston Middle School, according to scanner traffic. So far police have not responded to a request for comment about the earlier robbery.
The robbery occurred just after 5 p.m., at the Blue Ridge Partners gas and service station on the 2700 block of N. Pershing Drive, at the intersection with Washington Blvd.
Initial reports suggest that two men robbed the store, with one man displaying a small chrome pistol. Then men took cash, an iPhone and Newport cigarette cartons, before fleeing on foot to a nearby black SUV with tinted windows and Maryland tags and then driving off.
Both suspects are described as black males in their 40s with average builds. The first suspect is described as 5’9″, wearing a Washington Redskins jacket. The second is described as 5’10” with a black jacket and a black ski cap.
No one was injured in the robbery.
County Board Nixes TJ Elementary Plan — The Arlington County Board voted last night to refuse to allow Arlington Public Schools to build a new elementary school next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School, at least for now. Libby Garvey, a former school board member, was the lone dissenting voice on the 4-1 vote. She agreed with the school system that new elementary school seats are urgently needed in South Arlington. The board majority said the school system needs to go back and study alternatives again, since the elementary school could have negative impacts on the surrounding community. “You have to be a little more crowded for awhile,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes told school officials. [Washington Post, Arlington County]
Board Approves Overnight Gas Sales at 7-Eleven — Just down the street from Thomas Jefferson Middle School, on S. Glebe Road, exists a 7-Eleven convenience store and gas station that heretofore has not been allowed to sell gas from midnight to 6:00 a.m. The condition was put in place by the County Board in 1992, due to concern about traffic, noise and other neighborhood impacts. On Saturday the Board approved, with neighborhood support, a use permit change that will allow gas to be pumped 24/7. [InsideNova]
Board Approves Pentagon City Apartment Building — Also on Saturday, the County Board approved a new 20 story, 453 unit apartment building at 400 Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City. The developer of the project agreed to a nearly $10 million community benefits package and to building to LEED Gold sustainability certification standards. [InsideNova]
Jury Duty Phone Scam Returns — Once again, someone is calling Arlington residents, claiming to be a law enforcement officer and demanding payment over the phone because the call recipient supposedly failed to appear for jury duty. As it did last March, the police department is reminding residents that this is a scam. [Arlington County Police]
Octogenarian Still in the Marriage Business — Our Man in Arlington columnist Charlie Clark has a profile of Gerald Williams, who at age 82 is still performing 25-30 civil marriage ceremonies per week from a basement office in Courthouse. Williams was also profiled in a short documentary called “Arlington is for Lovers?” that was produced in 2010. [Falls Church News-Press]
The Arlington County Police Department is looking for a man suspected of breaking into a Lee Highway gas station over the weekend.
Police say the man entered the gas station Sunday night, stole cash and caused damage to the business before fleeing. He escaped, but was caught in the act on a surveillance camera.
Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call police. From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department’s Burglary/Larceny Unit is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying and locating a suspect involved in a burglary incident over the weekend at an Exxon Gas Station.
The suspect broke into the gas station, located in the 4700 block of N. Lee Highway, shortly after 8:00 p.m. on January 18, 2015. The lone suspect was captured on surveillance video causing damage to the business before stealing the cash register from behind the counter. He fled with the register and an undisclosed amount of money.
The subject is described as a black male in his 30-40s and was wearing a dark leather jacket, tan pants and black beanie skull cap.
If anyone has information on the identity and/or whereabouts of this individual, please contact Detective James Stone of the Arlington County Police Department’s Burglary/Larceny Unit at 703.228.4245 or at [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
Target Eyes Rosslyn — A vacant storefront at 1500 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn may become home to the D.C. region’s first TargetExpress, a smaller, grocery-oriented version of the big box retailer’s stores. So far, Target has not confirmed the news. The storefront has previously hosted Rosslyn BID-sponsored pop-up market events. [Washington Business Journal]
Key Bridge Rehab Planned — The D.C. Department of Transportation is planning to begin a two-year rehabilitation project on the Key Bridge this spring. Most of the work will focus on the bridge’s substructure so traffic impacts will be limited. Other planned work includes new LED streetlights, stronger barriers between the road and the sidewalk, and a new paint job for the bridge’s fence. [Georgetown Dish]
Sub $2 Gas in Arlington — The average price of a gallon of regular grade gasoline in Virginia fell to $1.99 over the weekend, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. That’s the lowest statewide average price since May 2009. So far in Arlington, only one gas station is reported to have $1.99 gas: the Arlington Auto Service station at 5200 Columbia Pike. [VirginiaGasPrices]
AYD to Hold SOTU Watch Party — Arlington Young Democrats will be holding a watch party for tonight’s State of the Union address. The party starts at 7:30 p.m. at Mad Rose Tavern in Clarendon (3100 Clarendon Blvd). President Obama’s address is scheduled to start at 9:00 p.m. For those looking for an ostensibly non-partisan watch party, Busboys and Poets in Shirlington (4251 S. Campbell Ave) is holding a “community watch event” starting at 8:00 p.m. [Arlington Young Democrats]
Blind Woman’s Luggage Returned Thanks to TV Station — WJLA’s “7 On Your Side” segment helped a blind Arlington resident retrieve her lost luggage at Reagan National Airport. The bag, reportedly containing all of Jessica Kyriazis’ winter clothes, was lost for several days by American Airlines due to circumstances arising from “bad weather.” [WJLA]
Taylor Gourmet Now Open at DCA — A Taylor Gourmet is now open at Reagan National Airport. It’s the latest in a line of trendy local restaurants that are opening at the airport this year, including Cava Grill, &pizza, Bracket Room, Lebanese Taverna Grill, Kapnos Taverna, and El Centro D.F. [Washington City Paper]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen