Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Gas Stations and Card Skimming - Be Alert!
Part of the problem with gas pumps is that most of them have a universal key lock making them extremely vulnerable to tampering by data thieves. Once the tampering is done with a skimming device inside the gas pump, it is often well disguised and not easily noticeable to patrons.
After the data is captured, fraudsters return to harvest the stolen card information from the skimming device or, is some cases, access and retrieve the data remotely. The harvested data is then used to manufacture counterfeit cards or the data is sold to other criminals.
Scary stuff here! While the credit unions have some internal tools to monitor card activity, what steps can consumers take to protect themselves?
Look for security tape over gas pump cabinets to reduce the chances that it hasn't been tampered with by unauthorized parties. (Picture above in left corner). If the tape is removed, cut, or the gas pump appears tampered with, do not use it and report it to the gas station manager.
Try to utilize gas pumps that are located closer to the front of the gas station as fraudsters will typically place skimming devices at gas pumps away from the store to go unnoticed.
Consider using a credit card rather than a debit card at the gas pumps. While there is consumer liability protection for both, most find dealing with a credit card compromise less intrusive.
If using a debit card at the gas pump, run the debit card as a credit authorization where you don't have to enter your card PIN number. This would prevent counterfeit ATM transactions since they would not have the stolen PIN number.
Consider going inside the gas station to prepay for your gas purchase. They may have the EMV card reader inside to protect your data from being stolen.
Finally, check your card accounts closely to watch for any unauthorized transactions. Home banking and mobile banking are great ways to closely monitor your accounts during the month plus they can show pre-authorizations that have not been debited yet on the account.
Posted by Greg Olmsted at 8/30/2016 03:10:00 PM