Philadelphia police warn of scam at the gas pump

Philadelphia police are sending a warning to the public about a scam at the gas pump. You may think you're only filling up your tank until you check your bank account.

"What I need you to pump my gas for? For real.” Joseph Spencer says that’s the answer he has ready when anyone approached him asking to pump his gas for some extra cash.

"I understand like we say it's a hustle. Somebody needs to make some extra money if you ain't got nothing," he said.  He doesn’t allow it because he knows the scams out there and he doesn't want to be a victim. Police say some people aren't on guard that way.

"They're just trying to make an honest living. Sometimes it's kids but in some cases it's people that are looking to scam you," said Captain Sekou Kinebrew. It’s the reason Philadelphia Police Department's 14th District tweeted a warning about safety at gas pumps.

Captain Kinebrew says it's an old scam but it continues to go around.

“They pump your gas but when you’re done they don’t hang the pump up. They don’t flip the latch up that ends your transaction so your credit card is still open when customer number 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 arrive and now they use their card to pump those people’s gas and take cash from those people,” he said. 

Tom Flora is the manager of Evan’s Gulf Auto Repair in Spring Garden. He showed FOX 29's Shawnette Wilson how it happens.

"This is all the way up now but a lot of time what they'll do is they'll hang it to the side and the pump is still on or they'll hold it in their hand and they'll say ok thank you," he demonstrated.

Police also remind of skimming devices. They could be on the actual pump or the person may have it on them ready to steal your personal information.

"I don’t want to paint with a broad brush and scare people just out there trying to make a hustle, trying to make an honest living and want to do something constructive and productive, but we also want to make sure that we alert people that there are people more sinister plans,” said Captain Kinebrew.

Spencer says there's one sure way to prevent it from happening to you.

"Cash money always gets it better than anything else. You can't steal that," he said. Police say they haven’t seen an increase in reports or any major incident at a particular gas station in the city. It's just a good reminder.