Consumers around the world have seen record high gas prices at the pump this year. The Ukraine invasion has meant higher crude oil prices, and the price of gasoline has risen sharply.
While prices have eased in the last month, consumers have been warned of the growing risk of credit card skimming, as this is becoming more common at gas stations.
This scam involves a credit card slot being attached to a gas pump. Then, when the customer uses their card at the pump, it’s read by the skimmer instead.
The aim of this scam for the criminals involved is to steal the user’s credit card information, which is then used to make purchases or sold to online networks.
Credit card skimming at gas stations has become increasingly problematic at pumps across the US this year. Reports have surfaced from countless cities nationwide, including California, Alabama, Oklahoma, Nevada, and Maryland.
How can consumers protect themselves?
Many gas stations have introduced improved security measures at the pump to protect customers, such as switching from traditional credit card slots to chip machines. There are reports that this has reduced the number of cases of skimming.
At some types of pumps, skimmers are visible on the outside of the credit card slot and can be spotted by consumers, who can then not use the slot and report it.
However, in recent years, technology has become more advanced and harder to see. This is particularly worrying for debit card users, as it can be harder to get the money back
Experts from Bankrate and Florida’s Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services advise that consumers can protect themselves by:
- Using a credit card for more protection
- Going inside the gas station to pay
- Choosing pumps that are closest to gas station employees
- Regularly checking credit card and bank statements
- Reporting anything suspicious as soon as possible