Skimming credit cards is nothing new. You’ve probably read a story or heard a report in your local news of skimmers being found on gas pumps in your community. And, it’s probably a story that you’ve heard before. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – which regulates the credit card industry – published information that may be helpful towards identifying if the gas pump you are using has a skimmer. Always take notice of the machine or device you are using with your credit card. If something doesn’t seem right, follow your instincts, use another device and notify the store clerk.
Tips To Help Avoid Skimming At The Pump
- Pay inside, with cash or a credit card, rather than at the pump
- Be suspicious if the gas pump has a broken security seal, or the word “void” appears on it. These labels are part of a voluntary program introduced by the fuel industry to help reduce fuel pump tampering
- Choose pumps closest to the physical building, these areas are higher trafficked and are likely within line of sight from the attendant
- Use a credit card, not a debit card, when you pay. A stolen debit card number and PIN could resort in far worse damage
- Pay attention when fueling and if it feels weird, don’t do it. Sometimes, thieves have been known to change out the card readers attached to the skimmers. These instances, in particular, may feel differently when inserting the card. It is common for the card to stick or not feel quite right. When in doubt, cancel the transaction and pay inside.
- Pay close attention to the locks on gas pumps, if they are open/unlocked move to another pump