Tuesday, October 23, 2012

On the Road: Credit Card Fraud at Gas Stations

Thieves can place a device over the credit card reader of the gas pump. This device can skim the credit card number of any card. Travelers will not notice anything is amiss. When they swipe the card, the station will be paid, but the plastic device will also read the card number for the thieves. This happened to me on one of my trips. Ten days later unauthorized charges were made to my card. No one touched my card but me. It was always in my possession. I had no reason to be alert that something was wrong. Now every time I get gas, I look to see if any plastic is on the reader.

One way to avoid this situation is to always go inside the gas stations to pay. For my last trip I thought I had a great plan to get a Pilot gas gift card to protect the credit card number. When I went to the station to purchase the card, I was informed the gift card had to be used inside the station. That did not help. In that case I will just use the credit card. Another Pilot manager told me Pilot hopes to have a card for the pump soon. We will see!

I have one main credit card that I use for everything. I have another credit card that I use just for trips. If someone steals my credit card number while I am on a trip, I can cancel that card and get a new one without disrupting any accounts that are paid by that particular credit card. Setting up a new payment account while one is on vacation is a hassle.

In the future if I ever feel my credit card has been skimmed at the pump. I will just shut down that card and get a new one when I arrive at my destination.

(Photo taken in 2012)

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