Cyclical “skimming” fraud at gas pumps is making a comeback

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – If it looks weird, don’t stick your card in it. This is advice from Better Business Bureau‘s Melanie McGovern on card skimming at the pump.

When it comes to skimming, she says there are some telltale signs to look out for before inserting your card.

“If it looks like (the card reader) has been put over something, if it looks like someone has tampered with the slot that your card goes in, you should be really careful, these scammers are really good,” she says .

She says these skimmers have a built-in internet connection that scammers use to steal your card information. If you see something inappropriate, don’t keep it to yourself.

“Maybe you go in and tell the clerk something like, ‘Hey, the pump looks like it’s been compromised,'” she says.

The crooks, she says, move quickly to slip these in; The gas station may not even know that there is a device on one of their pumps. Some customers tonight said they’ve heard about skimming but still feel safe filling up with a card.

“Yeah, I mean absolutely, I’ve never really thought twice about it,” said one customer.

“No, at least I’ve never noticed it. I’ve heard about this process of cheating and obviously taking money, but I’ve never had this experience,” says Brandon Dobbins.

But for Jeff Mullen, a scam like “skimming” is all too real. Last week, his bank warned him that hundreds of dollars were being charged on his card in Houston and Miami.

“They immediately shut everything down … and then today I got my card and I’m using this pump for the first time and I’m crossing my fingers,” says Mullen.

McGovern says wherever you spend money, always watch the money being charged on your card. “And make sure there aren’t any unauthorized transactions, you can put a fraud alert on your credit report and then really keep an eye on that credit report to make sure nobody’s using your card elsewhere,” she says.

McGovern added if you’re using a card to top up, it’s a better idea to use credit rather than direct debit. Loans usually have higher fraud protection.

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