Beware of skimmers

skimmercollageIt’s that time of year again!  With summer fast approaching, more people will be out and about on road trips and family vacations.  Undoubtedly activity at local gas stations will be on the rise.  The increase in activity will also mean more opportunities for criminals to strike.

Gas pump skimmers are a common method crooks use to steal your identity.  Here are a few tips to help you as a consumer avoid or reduce your risk of becoming a victim of a skimmer scam.

First look at the overall condition of the gas pump.  Is there anything attached to it that appears out of place?  Is there more than one card reader?  Any visible wires on the outside of the machine? Is there tape holding objects on the pump?

If possible avoid gas pumps that are out of view of the store employee.  These pumps could be more easily compromised with a skimmer since employees will not be able to see activity around the pump.  Use the pumps that are within view of the employee these will probably have a reduced risk of being compromised.

Check to see if the pump has a seal placed on the access door.  If this seal is broken or gone, move on to another pump if possible. It could mean that the pump has been compromised.  If the seal is missing or broken notify the employee immediately.

If you notice anything attached to the outside of the pump that appears out of place or brand new in appearance compared to the pump itself, it could be a skimmer or camera  to video your PIN. Externally placed skimmers will allow the transaction when placed over the  pump card reader, but will also steal your information at the same time.

Some skimmers are blue-tooth capable so the crook will not even have to come and get it!  Others that are externally attached may have to be retrieved by the crook at some point in time.

If you see people hanging around gas pumps after business hours or pretending to be maintenance workers, inform the employees or call the police.

Finally, check your credit card or gas card statements regularly for any irregularities or unusual charges.  Just some tips to help everyone enjoy the upcoming summer.


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