Gas-pump skimming is on the rise and your card may be at risk. Most skimmer devices are practically invisible, making them difficult to spot. With Bluetooth technology, scammers can now remotely steal your card information from up to 100 yards away. Protect yourself by learning about card skimmers and what to look for.
How a Skimmer Works and How to Spot One
Hackers will often outfit the pump farthest from the convenience store with a skimmer to avoid security cameras. The skimming device is usually placed on top of the pump’s card reader or inside the pump itself. While using cash is the easiest way to avoid having your card information stolen, this solution is not always convenient. If you choose to use a card, be on the lookout for these signs of a skimmer:
- Be on the lookout. Do numbers on the PIN pad look different than the rest of the machine? Does anything seem like it doesn’t belong? Is the fuel pump’s seal broken?
- Check the tape. Many gas stations place serial-numbered security tape across the dispenser to protect their pumps. If the tape has been broken, or there’s no tape on the dispenser at all, it’s likely been compromised.
- Something just “feels” wrong. Does the card reader look out of place or is it easy to wiggle? Are you having difficulty inserting your card? If any of these signs are present, don’t use the pump.
- Use your phone. There are several free detection apps that can alert you if a skimming device is found. You can also check your phone’s Bluetooth settings for any suspicious devices appearing under the “other devices” list.
Card Safety Tips at the Pump
It’s always a good idea to practice general safety when using a card to pay at the pump. Choose the pump closest to the store and always cover the number pad with your hand when inputting your PIN. Download our CardValet® app to periodically check card charges and remember to review your account statements regularly. Most of all, if something looks suspicious, don’t use that pump!
If you believe your card has been compromised, please contact us immediately by calling 1-800-622-5305.