If you drive a vehicle your credit or debit card is at risk from Skimming. What can you do and what are the gas pump operators and manufacturers doing to prevent and stop skimming? Skimming is where the bad guys will put a device on the gas pump that will intercept your card number. I will go into where these skimmers are placed. Let’s start with what can you do to help prevent your card number from being stolen.
- The most important thing you can do is Do Not Use Debit Cards. Once your debit card number is stolen the bad guys can empty your bank accounts. The banks say you are protected, but until they investigate you have no money in your bank account.
- Before using a gas pump look at it, do you see anything attached to it that looks like it doesn’t belong there?
- Are all the pump access doors securely locked?
- Does the store attendant have clear line of sight to the pumps?
- Are there surveillance cameras pointed at the pumps?
If you feel uncomfortable at a gas station or you find one of the above items, then leave and find another station, they are on every corner.
The gas pump operators are stepping up to try and prevent skimming by working with a specialty security company to come up with devices that stop this practice. The major point of attack are the card readers, this is where the skimming devices are placed. Below are some of the steps that gas pump operators are taking:
- Replacing the gas pump locks with stronger and more secure locks, some operators are going with high security cam locks and padlocks.
- Installing a specially designed box that encases the card reader to prevent access to it. This card reader security box is locked with a special lock that has patented protection on the lock and keys.
- Installing a special cover, secured by security screws over the gas pump control board.
- Installing a special security box around the pulser, this device is what counts the gallons of gas dispensed.
- The card reader manufacturers are also increasing the security of the reader itself.
Many gas stations are requiring that you input the zip code that matches the credit card. When credit cards with a chip imbedded becomes mainstream many credit and debit card problems will go away.
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