City News & Updates

Posted on: October 20, 2017

How to Minimize Risk of Credit Card Skimming at Gas Pump


     A recent article about arrests of individuals for credit card skimming at gas stations, erroneously listed Hudson as a city in which these crimes occurred. While this did not happen in Hudson, the incidences of skimming are on the rise and could happen here.

     Skimming is where a thief places a device that looks legitimate on the pump, but it is there to steal credit card data. Some things you can do to help minimize your risk:

  • Choose pumps closest to the physical building and in view of employees.
  • Examine the dispenser before inserting your card. Does it look like the front panel has been pried open? Is the keypad raised, rather than flush? Are the buttons different from the neighboring pumps? Does the card reader look different? Is the reader loose in its socket? Has the security seal been broken or does the word “void” appear on the seal? If so, the pump may have been compromised.  
  • Check your cell phone’s Bluetooth to look for a suspicious signal. Skimmers can be as small a thumb drive and difficult to spot. Free apps are available that can scan for Bluetooth connections and alert you if there is a skimmer in the Bluetooth range of your phone.
  • Pay inside with cash or a credit card rather than at the pump.
  • Use a credit card, not debit card, when you pay. A stolen debit card number gives thieves access to your bank account. Also, liability for losses on credit card purchases is more limited. If using a debit card, run the purchase as a credit card, not debit card purchase.
  • Pay attention when fueling. If it looks or feels wrong, don’t use your card.  Often thieves swap out card readers, and there’s a different feeling when you insert the card.  If that happens, quickly cancel the transaction and pay inside. Alert the station staff of your concern.

     Until gas stations install EMV-chip technology, gas pumps will continue to be extremely vulnerable to skimming. If you think your credit card has been compromised, get in touch with your bank right away.

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