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How to Prevent Credit Card Skimming

Updated on August 22, 2012

How do you pay for gasoline?

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Paying with Credit Card at a Gas Station.  Credit Card Cartoon.
Paying with Credit Card at a Gas Station. Credit Card Cartoon. | Source

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.

How often do you check your credit/debit card transactions online?

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    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      I agreed with you, ElizaDoole. It is not convenient to carry cash around but it is safer.

    • ElizaDoole profile image

      Lisa McKnight 5 years ago from London

      Interesting. I got scammed $50 years ago paying for petrol with the attendant at the counter who was using the old carbon copy method to duplicate transactions. It took me months to get my money back from the bank debit system, and only after many customers had complained about the particular gas station and the police recognised it as a fraud. Paying by cash is still the safest option.

    • TomBlalock profile image

      TomBlalock 5 years ago from Hickory, NC

      Its alright, it gave me a good laugh, and we can all use one of those now and again!

    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Thank you Nare for vote up. :)

    • Nare Anthony profile image

      Nare Gevorgyan 5 years ago

      Very interesting and useful hub! Though I don't buy gasoline, it is still interesting to know! Voted up!

    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Sorry TomBlalock. I didn't know. My bad. I will be more careful with people's name in the future. Thank you for letting me know. :)

    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Thank you sammimills for reading and commenting. :)

    • sammimills profile image

      sammimills 5 years ago from California, USA

      Great advice! Thank you for sharing.

    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Thank you summerberrie for reading and commenting. :)

    • profile image

      summerberrie 5 years ago

      kittyjj, this is new to me too. I will heed your warning, thanks!

    • TomBlalock profile image

      TomBlalock 5 years ago from Hickory, NC

      I really gotta get used to this whole media interaction thing. I suppose, with this being useful for everyday life, it behooves me to share it there as well. Grumble grumble, I hate learning new things.

    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      @Ribie, We often hear bad things happened to other people but might not take precautions until it hits close to home. I hope this hub will remind people to take necessary steps to protect them from being the next victim.

    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Thank you Mmargie1966 for vote up and sharing with your friends.

    • Robie Benve profile image

      Robie Benve 5 years ago from Ohio

      Great hub, I like the personal take on it. hear that it happened to someone you personally know (even a family member!) it adds much interest. Greta info, thanks for sharing. :)

    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Excellent, excellent advice! I will start immediately!

      Thanks for sharing...voted up and awesome :) ~ also, sharing with my fb friends!

    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Thank you TomBlalock for suggesting a topic on encrypted chip credit cards. It is interesting and I will look into that. :)

    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Thank you NayNay2124 for letting me know the information is useful and vote up. :)

    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      @Marcy, I have been wondering the same thing. Why don't those people use their talent on doing something positive?

    • TomBlalock profile image

      TomBlalock 5 years ago from Hickory, NC

      A useful article. I don't suppose I could convince you to do a follow up article on the pro's and cons of encrypted chip credit cards, as used overseas almost exclusively, now? It seems like those would help thwart those trying to skim credit cards.

    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      @joanwz. Sure it's scary. People actually steal your money right in front of you. Shame on those bad guys.

      @searchinsany, Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • NayNay2124 profile image

      NayNay2124 5 years ago

      Very good information. This happened to a friend of mine and she has had a very difficult time. It's a shame people are so desperate and steal from hard working people. Voted up and useful.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      Uh-oh. I had the wrong answer on both polls. I use my debit card (no more for that - I'll switch to credit or cash now!). And I confess I never check my transactions.

      I've never heard of the gas station scam you mentioned, but a good friend of mine made a transaction at his bank's ATM or external box (I can't recall if it was a deposit or a withdrawal), and although he noticed it looked different, he didn't think about it. The bank later contacted him and told him someone had attached a fake front to the bank's apparatus and had siphoned information.

      I keep wondering where these people get the ideas and technology to do these things? It would be great if they'd devote some time to something productive rather than conning people and stealing.

    • searchinsany profile image

      Alexander Gibb 5 years ago from UK

      Good advice.

    • joanwz profile image

      Joan Whetzel 5 years ago from Katy, Texas

      Great advice. IT's scary to think how easy it is for someone to steal your information.