New Anti-Skim Measures for Gas Pumps?

mmcartalk

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New Anti-Skim Measures for Gas Pumps?






Some of you, no doubt, are aware that the practice of "Skimming" (which is when unscrupulous persons hide credit-card-scanners inside of gas pumps) has become widespread and a significant problem lately. Fortunately, I've never personally been a victim, but it can happen to anyone, anytime. Scammers typically either hide the illegitimate scanners deep inside the pumps (after jimmying the pump-covers open and shut), or use custom-fitted ones inside or outside of the credit-card-slot-readers on the pump. One of the signs that consumer-experts teach wary customers to spot is a loose or jiggly feel to the credit-card slot-housing itself (which could suggest an add-on/cover scammer), or resistance to the card-movement/insertion itself, inside the slot.

I use Shell gas (and my credit card) for several reasons. First, Shell and Chevron, both highly-rated Tier-1 fuel-brands, offer what are arguably the best detergent-additive packages in the U.S. market. Chevron calls their package Techron/Techroline, and Shell V-Power....but Chevron stopped marketing in the D.C. area several years ago....I don't know why
Second, my bank gives me a standard 3% cash-back on all gas purchases with that particular line of credit-card (1% or 2% on other purchases, depending on the retailer or utility). Third, my Bonus grocery-card, from Giant Food (a regional brand of grocery-stores) gives me anywhere from $0.10 to $1.50 off on each gallon (but only on Shell gas), depending on the amount of grocery-points you have on it from purchases. So, with Shell, I not only give my car a nice nutritious 87-octane diet, but also save money by doing so.

Today though, I had an interesting experience at a local Shell station. Usually, as standard practice, before I insert either the Giant-discount card or my bank credit card, I grip the outside of the card-reader firmly, try to wiggle it, and see if any loose-fitting, slip on cover-readers have been added (that is one of the things the experts tell you to do). I haven't actually encountered any of those...at least not yet. For the first time I can remember, though, when I tried to insert either the bank or Giant card today, I could feel something inside the slot, preventing the card from being inserted all the way in....you had to push firmly, felt a click, and then the card would go all the way in. DING, DING...red lights went off in my mind....that's one of the classic warning signs of skimming. So, I tried it again, just to see if it was a fluke or a momentary malfunction...same effect. So, I cancelled the transaction immediately before it could begin pumping, walked inside, spoke to the Station Manager, and reported what I found. He was quite understanding, and said, yes, several customers had been confused lately and brought that up. He said it is a new type of reader/credit-card slot for gas pumps, which is supposed to make it nearly impossible to skim....and that there are now signs on the pumps telling customers to wiggle the cards as they insert them (I didn't notice any particular sign like that). Anyhow, I went back to the pump, re-entered everything, filled up, re-set my trip odometers (still averaging low 20s MPG in town), and took off. But, just to be on the safe side, you can bet I will be monitoring my credit-card account closely for the next couple of days.

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suxeL

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Unfortunately with anything connected and a person with enough will power, they can do anything. If you can best bet is to pay cash. I know its not a perfect solution, but its something I can spend one less moment thinking.
 

mmcartalk

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Unfortunately with anything connected and a person with enough will power, they can do anything. If you can best bet is to pay cash. I know its not a perfect solution, but its something I can spend one less moment thinking.

I agree that nothing beats cash for security. But, like it or not, we are moving towards a cashless society. Some supermarkets, today, already have self-checkout stations that do electronic transactions only, and will simply not accept cash. You cannot (directly) use cash for the Washington, D.C.-area subway fares or parking lots.......you use a plastic fare card with a magnetic strip, though you can buy the fare cards with cash. Pretty soon, you'll probably be buying ice-cream from the neighborhood trucks with mobile-credit-card machines LOL.

3383

I use Shell gas (and my credit card) for several reasons. First, Shell and Chevron, both highly-rated Tier-1 fuel-brands, offer what are arguably the best detergent-additive packages in the U.S. market. Chevron calls their package Techron/Techroline, and Shell V-Power....but Chevron stopped marketing in the D.C. area several years ago....I don't know why
Second, my bank gives me a standard 3% cash-back on all gas purchases with that particular line of credit-card (1% or 2% on other purchases, depending on the retailer or utility). Third, my Bonus grocery-card, from Giant Food (a regional brand of grocery-stores) gives me anywhere from $0.10 to $1.50 off on each gallon (but only on Shell gas), depending on the amount of grocery-points you have on it from purchases. So, with Shell, I not only give my car a nice nutritious 87-octane diet, but also save money by doing so.
 
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