Security seals show signs of possible tampering at metro-area gas station

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DENVER -- Credit card skimmers have been found at several metro-area gas stations in the past few weeks and one customer believes he might have discovered more.

“I inserted my card, took it out, put in my PIN code for verification and then I realized before I filled up the gas that actually it had a 'void open' seal on it,” Rajat Agrawat said.

He visited the 7-Eleven Conoco at 4990 E. Hampden Ave. in Denver on Thursday morning. On Thursday afternoon, every pump’s seal showed evidence of possible tampering.

The security seals are visible on most pumps as red stickers and are commonly found as a way to deter and detect tampering.

The stickers should appear solid red when untouched. However, once they are peeled off, they leave behind the word “void." If the word is visible, it means someone has peeled the tape off and stuck it back on.

The state recommends but does not require gas stations to have the tamper-resistant tape. The state also does not require gas stations that choose to use the stickers to maintain them.

According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, which oversees gas station regulations, attendants often peel the stickers off to replace receipt tape and do not put new security stickers on when they are finished.

When voided stickers are present at pumps, it is impossible to tell whether it has been tampered with or is the work of an employee.

Agrawat said he is nervous his credit card information was compromised because it has happened to him before at a pump where the security stickers were breached.

“I thought maybe they had opened it for maintenance or something and three days later I got a call from Wells Fargo that my card has been compromised,” he said.

He said criminals spent about $1,500 from his debit account before they were caught and that it took nearly a month to sort out the fraudulent charges.

“I had to go through this whole process of getting a new card, resetting all of my debit card automatic payments, disputing the charges with retailers,” he said.

The 7-Eleven security stickers say “7-Eleven Cares about your ID. Please Report Immediately if “VOID OPEN” appears.”

This time, Agrawat said he followed the directions on the sticker and reported the problem to the manager. However, he said he did not get the answer he was hoping for.

“She told me that it is normal and that [she] knows what [she’s] doing. Which was kind of upsetting,” he said.

Staff couldn’t say if the pumps were safe or not. Calls, tweets and emails to corporate 7-Eleven were not returned.

“I felt frustrated,” Agrawat said.

That frustration grew after he said he went home and checked his bank account.

“It showed up as $95. It’s a pending transaction even though I did not fill up any gas,” he said.

The pending charge might be a temporary authorization before any charges post to the account. Agrawat said until he knows for sure, he wants to make sure no one falls victim to potential skimmers at the pumps.

“The business is aware of it and they’re not doing anything about it. This is a crime in action and somebody needs to do something about it,” he said.

State regulators say they will send an investigator to those pumps to check them.