How To Protect Your Card From Gas Station Skimmers
When you’re running low on gas remember these helpful tips before you fill up:
Look before you swipe
Card skimmers are becoming harder to detect but that doesn’t mean you can’t spot the signs. Does the card reader panel seem discolored or loose? Can you see any exposed wires? Unusual scuff marks or scratches around the reader. These types of clues can point to the presence of a card skimmer.
Check your phone
Sounds strange but your cell phone may be able to detect a gas pump skimmer. Thieves will sometimes use Bluetooth to communicate with their skimmers. If you set your phone to scan for Bluetooth signals, the skimmer may show up on your phone as an unidentified device.
A pump will usually ask if your card is a “debit card”. If you answer “yes”, you will be prompted to enter your PIN. If that pump has a skimmer attached, you’ll be handing your PIN over to a thief who can use it to cause large losses in your account.
When paying at the pump, always select “CREDIT”. The pump will ask for your zip code instead which is much less useful to a thief. Keep your PIN to yourself and don’t take the chance of having it stolen at the pump.
Trust your gut
There could be times when you just get a feeling that something isn’t right. Perhaps there are strange people milling about or someone is getting a bit too close to you as you pull out your wallet or purse. Maybe someone even approaches you to ask for directions or to compliment your new car. If people are hanging around the pumps without actually pumping gas they may be trying to install a skimmer or even retrieve skimmer data. Either way, trust your instincts and leave if you feel at all uncomfortable