By Mo Breden
Last week I wrote about my experiences with a credit card that I swiped at a local gas station– and about two weeks later–huge charges appeared on my card from gas stations around the state. All charges were reported to my credit card company and they are investigating the fraudulent charges.
Since the only place that I swipe the card in question is at my local gas station I decided to go by and talk to the manager. The first thing I asked him was how often they checked the pumps for skimmers. What’s a skimmer you say? Well, a skimmer is the first thing you need to know. Skimmers are any number of devices made to be affixed to an ATM or a gas pump and secretly record credit and debit card information when customers slip their cards into or through the machines to pull out money or to pay for gas. The criminals later retrieve the devices that store your information and use or sell it to other criminals who use it, and your credit card is charged.
The manager took me out to the pumps to point out some things I need to be aware of when I swipe my card at a gas station. If you are like me, you pull up, swipe the card, get the, gas, and get on your way. You can’t do that anymore. You have to take a few seconds to look at the area where you swipe your card. I took a photo of the pump at my station to make the explanation easier. The first arrow is pointing to the tape that is placed across the door edge on the pump. If this tape is tampered with or is not in place, do not use that pump and bring it to the attention of the staff on duty. The second arrow points to the keypad area just make sure that nothing has been placed on or over the keypad. Also, check the device that actually scans your card for any coverings or over fittings. Apparently, according to the manager, they check the pumps, at least once a day for skimmers. Whether they actually do or not is a subject for debate, at least in my mind.
On the pump itself, there is a small locked door, which they open to change the receipt tape. There is also a seal on the border of the small door that would indicate that the inside of the pump had been tampered with or not properly closed.
Anything that looks out of the ordinary on the card scanner or the keypad should be a clue to you, NOT to swipe your card. In the future, I will look at the scanner and keypad on my pump and make sure they are identical to the other pumps, but that is up to you. But educate yourself; it could save you a lot of aggravation.
Thanks for stopping by to read my post; I hope to see ya’s next week, for Life with Mo.