How to Prevent Credit Card Skimming
How do you pay for gasoline?
Credit Concerns for Gas Stations
Credit card compromised at a gas station - a scary but true story:
It happened when my sister went for gasoline at a gas station. When she pulled into the gas station, number 1,2 and 4 gas pumps were occupied. The guy, who stood by gas pump #4, got into his white car when he saw my sister's come in, and drove away quickly. My sister took the gas pump #4. But after she slid her credit card, the screen showed nothing. After trying a few more times and getting no response from the screen, my sister pulled her car forward to the pump #3. As soon as she got out of her car, the white car which was previously at pump #4 suddenly pulled up behind her and the same guy came out of the car. My sister was puzzled and wondered if this guy could make the card slot work for him. So she kept an eye on this guy while she slid her credit card and started filling the gas tank. To her surprise, this guy didn’t take out any card, instead he just made some adjustment to the position of the card slot, then selected the grade of gasoline and started filling gasoline into his car. My sister was confused and was trying hard to figure out what was happening. By that time her gas tank was already full so she finished and left the gas station with hundreds of questions in her head. What just happened at the gas station was so suspicious. When she got home she asked her son to call the credit card company and was told that she had just spent $134 at the gas station. My sister was stunned. Her Honda Civic was still half full when she arrived at the gas station. Even a full tank of gasoline for her Honda Civic wouldn’t cost that much.
What to do when you credit card has been compromised
My sister told the credit card company what had happened at the gas station. The representative of the credit card company agreed it was a fraud and cancelled the card right away. My sister was relieved that she was not responsible for the charge and would be getting a new card in three days.
Tips on protecting yourself from fraud at gas stations
- Pay with cash if you have it with you. It is the safest way to protect yourself from fraud.
- Pay with credit card instead of debit card. Credit card companies allow you to dispute the charge that you didn’t make with your credit card. Not all banks are willing to dispute a fraud charge of your debit card.
- Always inspect the card slot before you slide your card. If it feels loose or looks suspicious such as tiny devices, bring this to the attention of the gas station employee.
- Pay inside the gas station with a cashier. It is inconvenient but a bit safer.
- Pay attention to other cars that are there in front and behind you.
- Do ask for a receipt - A lot of gas stations give you the option whether to have a receipt for your purchase of the gasoline. I understand the importance of saving a tree, but we’re forgetful sometimes and might not remember how many times or how much we have spent, or which gas stations we have used during that month. We can recycle the receipts after we have checked and approved the charges shown on the credit card statement.
- Check your credit card statement online often so that you can spot suspicious charges right away, dispute them and ask for a new credit card with a different set of numbers.
Thieves will have their new tricks on how to steal other people’s money. We just have to be extra cautious and know how to protect ourselves from being their next victim.