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While you may prefer to pay by credit card at your favorite gas station, gas pump skimmers may be hidden that could steal your information. The thieves then use your credit card information for their purchases. Surveys have found that around 15% of people who fill their cars with gas report having been skimmed!
In the past, gas pump scams were executed through sizeable plastic skimming devices placed over the actual credit card inserts. At first, the public was generally unaware of this. As people and station staff began wising up, new techniques were developed.
The most popular current method of credit card skimming is fast and easy. It is so useful that it’s relatively untraceable and can be installed within 20 seconds! The scammer will open up the gas pump using a key (master key) or tool and fit a ‘skimmer’ inside, which is not visible.
For independently run gas station retailers, the answer is often money. Installing the EMV chip readers is expensive, as it often requires the entire gas dispensing machine to be replaced. Additionally, even if the EMV chip reader is installed, it isn’t 100% effective.
If users enter their PIN when using the EMV machine, it can be safer, but many are wary of doing this (as a skimmer garnishing one’s PIN number can be financially dangerous). VISA card reported that in 2016, gas station skimming crimes were reduced by 43%, but the risk still exists!
Another technique gas stations use to place ‘do not tamper’ sticker on the machines. These stickers will be color coded or holograms. Both Chevron and Shell offer these stickers free to their gas stations, to prevent skimming theft.
Want more tips on how to protect your data and financial or digital information? Visit Social Catfish for informative articles and searches.