We put a lot of fuel into our tanks each year, which is probably why fuel dispensers have become a target for thieves looking to steal credit and debit card information. An aggressive tactic called “skimming”, happens when a third-party card-reading device is illegally installed either outside or inside a fuel dispenser. It allows a thief to capture a customer’s credit and debit card information when a card is swiped, so that they can create counterfeit cards. But you can take control. Here’s how.
Reduce Your Risk of Gas Pump Fraud with These Smart Tips:
1. Look for signs of tampering before you insert your payment card.
- Examine the card slot to see if it matches the rest of the reader device. Skimmers are often attached only loosely so tugging lightly on the mouth of the slot or the keypad might dislodge it. Even if it moves only slightly, it is a good idea to report it to the attendant and use a different pump.
- Look for tamper-evident stickers. Many stations now put security seals over the front panel of each pump. If the pump panel has been opened, the label will read "void."
- Be wary if it’s difficult to insert your card. It could be evidence of tampering.
2. Choose the pump closest to the cashier.
- Criminals are less likely to tamper with the payment terminals so close to the cashier.
- However, it is recommended that you still be wary of credit card skimmers and tamper-evident stickers at all pumps.
3. Protect your debit card at the pump.
- If you do use a debit card at the pump, run it as a credit card instead of entering a PIN. That way, the PIN is safe and the money isn’t deducted immediately from your account. If you do enter your PIN, always cover the keypad with your hand when entering the PIN; that way, even if thieves skim your card, there is less chance that they will be able to grab your PIN as well.
- If you see any evidence of tampering, pay inside with the cashier.
4. Monitor your accounts regularly for unauthorized charges.
If you think your card has been compromised, report it to your bank or card issuer. Federal law limits your liability if your credit, ATM, or debit card is lost or stolen.
OneWest Bank Security Measures
We take the protection of customer information very seriously. That's why our security team partners with the world's largest global provider of financial technology solutions to regularly monitor the online environment and stay one step ahead of threats. Our substantial internal and external audit functions ensure alignment with laws, policies, rules, regulations and best practices. Please visit our Privacy and Security page to learn more about our policies.