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Ways to Protect Yourself from Credit + Debit Card Fraud at Gas Stations6/24/2016

There have recently been some confirmed cases of Credit Card Skimmers at local gas stations. Here are a few tips regarding what to look for and how to avoid becoming a victim of this fraud.

Beware of Gas Station Credit Card Skimmers

Gas station credit card skimmers are external devices that thieves attach over a real credit card slot at a gas station pump. As customers swipe their cards into the skimmer, the device saves and stores card information immediately.

What to look for: If a credit card slot looks different from the other card readers at the station, it might be a setup for a credit card skimming fraud.

What to do: Skimming devices are meant to be placed temporarily for a matter of hours or just a day. For that reason, they are attached using only double-sided tape, so thieves can easily remove them. Before sliding a credit card through the machine, tug on the reader to ensure it is securely attached; skimmers will easily pop off with little effort.

Contact the police to file a police report if you find a credit card skimmer.

Block View of Pinhole Cameras

These inconspicuous cameras are so small that cardholders really have to be paying attention to spot them. They are sometimes used in conjunction with credit card skimmers to capture footage of customers entering their PIN numbers on debit cards. With this added information, criminals can commit debit card fraud and withdraw funds directly from your account, as well as make fraudulent credit card purchases. For this reason, either use your credit card, or run your debit card as a credit card to bypass entering your PIN.

What to look for: Again, search for anything on the face of the gas pump that looks different compared to the other pumps. Pinhole cameras are often situated above the keypad area.

What to do: For extra precaution, use two hands when paying for gas at the pump. Use one hand for the transaction, and place the other above the credit card screen to shield the keypad from view of lurking cameras above.

Use the Pump Closest to the Cashier

If you have a choice of pumps, choose the pump closest to the cashier. Criminals are less likely to apply credit card skimmers or other criminal tools so close to the attendant. Of course, you should still be wary of credit card skimmers, tamper-evident stickers and pinhole cameras even if you do get a pump close to the cashier.

Pay the Gas Station Attendant Instead

Cardholders also have the option of handling the transaction with the gas station attendant. Customers do still take on a small risk — as there is no guarantee that the employee isn’t using a credit card skimmer behind the counter — but can avoid the risks of pinhole cameras and gas-pump credit card readers that have been tampered with.

What to Do If Your Credit Card Is Skimmed

It’s always good practice to check your credit card statements to make sure the charges are correct. After filling up your car at a gas station, it’s prudent to check your accounts. If you review your statements or accounts and find that your credit card has indeed been skimmed, call us immediately at 989-892-6088 to let us know about the fraudulent charges and to protect yourself from further criminal activity on that card.

To report a stolen card during non-business hours:

  • VISA Credit Cards 
    • (855) 278-9173 within the U.S. or
    • (605) 782-3823 when outside the U.S.
  • Debit/ATM
    • (800) 554-8969 within the U.S. or
    • (614) 564-5101 when outside the U.S.



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