Card Skimmers at Gas Pumps - Tip for Auditors

During an audit at a busy Phillips 66 I found a card reader that was open. The pump was pump #2. There were 8 pumps at the location. It was a Phillips 66 located in an industrial, working class part of the city. I told the manager. He checked and found a skimmer. I remained after I was done with the audit. About 40 minutes later a detective arrived. He looked at the skimmer and I heard him tell the manager that it was not Bluetooth enabled. I learned from the detective that the thieves typically place the skimmers in the pumps that are hardest to see by the cashiers inside the store. There will be two thieves and they will pull up to the pump they choose to install a skimmer. They usually install them after 7pm or dusk. One theif will go inside the store and buy something and distract the store staff while the 2nd thief uses a universal key to unlock the pump, installs the skimmer in 5-10 minutes, then closes and locks the card reader. The detective thought that the theives were interupted before they could close and lock the card reader door, which is why the door was unlocked. The manager of this store did not bother to have staff check the card readers in the morning so it may have been opened for some time.

So the tip I got is to fuel at a pump that is in a direct line of sight to the cashier in the store, as the thieves avoid the pumps that are easy to see. If there are 8 dispensers under the canopy, and if the canopy/fuel island is situated parellel to the c-store, pumps 1/2 and 15/16 would be the pumps most likely to be chosen by thieves to install skimmers.

Please share any tips. Now I appreciate why the clients want to know about the security tape. When the independent owners of these stations have to pay the fraudulent charges (which they don't have to pay) they will start doing a better job protecting customers.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/04/2015 08:23PM by jilummer.

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I actually look at the keypad and surrounding surface area when I pump gas. If something looks odd or out of place, I won't put my card in there. smiling smiley
I will be changing over to gift cards for all my GS shops. One of my cards was hacked last month during a 100+ GS route. Could have been skimmed, could have been copied by a full serve attendant. Fortunately my CC company flagged it and will not hold me liable for the fraudulent charges ($350 in two days.)
Speaking of gas station possible fraud: There was a guy at work who had a $300 gas charge at one station. He told the CC Company (who questioned the charge) that he had a Hummer and DID pump $300 in gas! smiling smiley (this is when gas was crazy expensive)...
When I did these shops, I never saw a security tape around the door. Never, and nothing has changed around here. Still the same. Unbelievable!
Thanks for the tip, sounds reasonable. Why not, I'll use pumps closest to line of sight!

Evaluating and mailing packages since 1994
You may think your protecting yourself with a prepaid load as you go Visa card, but they offer little or no protection compared to a real Visa card with a national bank backing.
Sure, it's a pain if your card is skimmed, but you will just have to line item it over the phone. It's not the end of the world.. I think I was skimmed at a restaurant from a waiter, as it was the only place the card was used recently. I used a card I use like 1-2 times a quarter to keep it active. When they stop sending me a monthly statement, I use it again.
I keep one store brand gift card (not Visa gift card) from every brand with me in my car pretty much all the time. The only exception is Exxon/Mobil where I keep two.
They appear to be the only brand that I audit where you can't use their gift cards twice within 5 minutes so you can't pump with it and then go in the store and use the same card. I use two separate cards for the two separate transactions. The less I use my credit card for shops, the better.

Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
That must new with Exxon/Mobil gift cards. Back when I did routes of them for the old MSC it was never an issue.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
Do skimmers have the same luck with the new credit cards that have chips in them? As far as I am informed they are way too hard to commit fraud with because they supposedly create a new number for each transaction.
@scanman1, in my city, they found a very large restaurant credit card fraud scheme. My card was cancelled and reissued without any prior trouble, and I'm guessing it was because I had used it at one of the restaurants listed as involved in the scheme.
Now I understand the security tape. I have noticed in the past year that many more gas stations are more compliant.
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