"They just open the pump for them automatically."
A gas station claims that scammers are hacking pumps to get away with hundreds of gallons of free gas.
According to Detroit-based broadcaster FOX 2 reports, the scam involves using a smartphone's Bluetooth connectivity to override the gas station's system, allowing for huge amounts of fuel to be released at a given pump.
Most recently, one hacker reportedly got away with a whopping 800 gallons of gas — roughly worth $3,000 — at a Shell station in Detroit.
"They just open the pump for them automatically," the station's owner told FOX 2, adding that more drivers "meet up with them and tell them to come over here" to use the same hacked pump.
Pocket Full of Shell
Worst of all, he said, the station's clerks can only helplessly watch and call the cops.
"Every time we push Pump Three stop, it wasn’t doing anything," the owner told FOX 2. "We have to shut off the whole pumps — we have emergency stops."
It's still unclear how exactly the hackers were able to override the pumps.
"We don't know what kind of device was used, but we know it was an electronic device," Justin Hearn, a Detroit Police Department spokesman, told The Detroit News.
It's far from the first time a gas station has been hacked to dispense free gas. With gas prices reaching record highs last year in the US, 22 people were arrested between March and July 2022 alone, as NBC News reported at the time.
While we don't know which specific device was used in this latest hack, easily purchasable gadgets have flooded the internet, allowing practically anybody to easily circumvent gas pumps' payment systems. Some of these devices exploit remote control options used by station owners and fuel inspectors. Other devices called pulsar manipulators trick the pump into dispensing more gas than it's keeping track of, per NBC.
Authorities are now looking for the Detroit thief, who was identified in surveillance footage — but given the amount of gas he got away with, he's probably made it pretty far by now.
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