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Be Aware: Card Skimmers at Gas Stations

gas pumpRecently, incidences of card skimming fraud at gas stations have increased. While it is important to remain vigilant whenever you are using your credit or debit card, gas stations have become the new hot spot for fraud. Knowing what to look for when at the pump could save you from having your information compromised.

What is card skimming?

Skimmers are card readers that steal and store data off a credit or debit card’s magnetic strip. The skimmer attaches to the card reader and doesn’t cause a functional issue for the terminal, which can allow the issue to go unnoticed.

What am I looking for?

A credit card skimming device is smaller than a deck of cards and fits over the existing card reader. When a customer swipes their card, the device immediately saves and stores the card information.

Here are some ways to stay observant at the gas pump.

  1. Look for signs of tampering such as different colored materials on the machine, graphics that aren’t aligned correctly or anything else that doesn’t look quite right.
  2. If you don’t see anything that looks off, give the card reader and keyboard a little shake. Card readers are sturdy and nothing should shift when touched.
  3. If you notice something is not secure, do not use that machine and inform the manager immediately.

Criminals can also plant devices into the card machine at the gas pump.

  1. Look at the edges of the gas pump where the terminal opens for maintenance. If the hinges or lock are battered or seem tampered with, it could be compromised.
  2. Several gas companies use tamper-proof seals across the opening of the credit card door. When broken, the sticker is lifted revealing the word VOID on the sticker.
  3. If you see a void sticker or the machine shows signs of tampering, inform the attendant and move to a different station.

How can I avoid card skimming?

Be aware of your surroundings and take the time to look at the card machine before using it will go a long way in keeping your information safe. Other ways to avoid card skimmers include using the pump closest to the cashier, using cash and paying the attendant inside the gas station.

What else should I know?

Each time you use your card at the gas pump, it’s a good practice to check your credit card statements or bank account through online banking. If you see criminal behavior call your credit card company immediately and they will work with you on the next steps.

We want our customers to feel protected as they use their South State debit and credit cards. For more information on protecting yourself, visit our Advice Center here.

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