With all the high-tech hacking and data breaches, it’s easy to forget that thieves still use local physical theft.

Who Is It Targeting: Customers who pay at the pump

What Is It: Skimming of your credit card information

What Are They After: Paying at the pump is very convenient—and paying outside instead of walking in the store can help you stick to that New Year’s resolution to cut back on junk food! Unfortunately, one of the age-old credit card theft scams involves skimming film, and gas pump card readers are a prime location for this crime.

Skimming requires micro thin film attached to a storage source. When you run your magnetic strip credit card through a tampered reader, the film gathers your account information and relays it to the thief. In many cases, it’s hard to detect that the point-of-sale system has been altered or compromised, but since it takes a moment to install the skimmer, thieves love the privacy of gas pump payment readers.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • If your gas pump looks tampered with, suspicious, or just in an isolated spot (giving a thief privacy to install a skimmer), head inside to make payment.
  • Some states have enforced a durable sticker near the card reader, so look for an inspection sticker that is intact before inserting your card.

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