Gas Station Card Skimmers

I do roughly 50 blue gas stations shops a month. Literally, every 6 months or so my debit card gets compromised during one of these shops due to card skimmers. It happened again today...grrr. I do my best to be proactive (scanning for bluetooth devices before I pump gas, jiggling the card reader, and checking for intact security stickers). Despite this, it is quite annoying and inconvenient to have my cards and bank accounts compromised so frequently. I thought about buying a gas station gift card and using it for my gas purchases but when I just re-read the client requirements it clearly states credit/debit cards must be used. Does anyone have similar experiences or any ideas of what else I can be doing to prevent card skimming???

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Wow, that stinks. Yes, it happened to me with a credit card once (not an audit or shop) at a local gas station. My CC company caught it before I did. I don't do a lot of gas station shops, but I would use a credit card over a debit card for that very reason.

What about prepaid credit cards? I know that often there is a fee associated with them. Have you told the MSC of your issue with this? Maybe they would agree to allow you to be the exception to the rule with gift cards, or maybe they would be willing to pay the nominal fee associated with a prepaid credit card.
If blue station means Chevron, you can use a gift card at the pump.

If it means Exxon Mobil, I have no idea.
I buy the OneVanilla gift cards, though the fee is annoying. I use them at stations that I feel could be targeted, such as anything near a highway exit or in a nice suburban neighborhood. (that part surprises people, but if you were a CC thief, do you want the card numbers of people using the nice suburban station, or the station in a hard section of a city?). I will use those cards if I have to use a pump that would not be in the attendants direct line of sight.

I will use my regular cards when I feel comfortable with the location of the station (not near a highway exit or highly trafficked spot), and/or, am using a pump potentially in the line of sight for the CSR.

I feel very fortunate that I've only had a card compromised once.
Note I usually only buy $1 or $2 in gas per shop, so the gift cards get more mileage.
And if a station has a chip reader, I will use a regular card and pump the max reimbursement if needed. Usually a couple of those per day for me.
Do you live where there is a Chase bank. They have the liquid card that you can load with just enough money fir your shops. Check out Chase about this card
The blue stations do allow gift cards, if you are talking about ExxonMobil. I have had my card skimmed several times too, and use only gift cards now. I buy them at Best Buy or online with my credit card, and get points too. I am not aware of any gas station clients that prohibit them. (They usually do prohibit using an ExxonMobil credit card, for example, but not the gift cards.)
My inside purchase is, as often as I can, a gift card. The only reason I don't always buy a gift card in side is because many locations don't allow you to buy them with credit cards. I use my Chase Freedom for 5x points this quarter (or Chase Ink Business for 3x points) to buy the gift card and use it for the rest of my route. I do hundreds of these each year and have never had an issue with an account.
For the love of God, Do NOT use a debit card... ever.... anywhere. They are the worst.

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Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/04/2019 11:22PM by Hoju.
I have a Barclay card that gets used at rural gas station in PA and NY every 3 months even though I never use the card.

The Amex that I use at every random stop has never had a problem.
Amen. My debit cards get cut up immediately when they arrive in the mail. I have one checking account at a bank that has some branches inside grocery stores. A few of these locations recently remodeled, removing their teller counters so now they only complete transactions for customers with a debit card. I can't bank at those branches, obviously.

@Hoju wrote:

For the love of God, Do NOT use a debit card... ever.... anywhere. They are the worst.
Here is another solution. If you're a customer of TD Bank, which I think is only on the east coast, you can buy a Visa debit card without a fee. Also, some credit unions may sell them without a fee; I know of one that does that for a Black Friday special once a year.
TD Bank is a Canadian bank. Toronto Dominion. They are pretty widespread in the US and Canada. They also own TD Ameritrade.

Edited to add that I guess the physical brick and mortar branches are primarily on the East Coast.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/05/2019 12:23AM by JASFLALMT.
You used to be able to get no-fee Visa gift cards through AAA.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. Eleanor Roosevelt
Do you have to pay at the pump? If not, you can use Samsung Pay inside the store.

"Been stuck in the middle of a vendetta between me and myself" -Citizen Cope
Often you are required to pay at the pump to see if the card reader is working, and then if you get a receipt at the pump.
@HonnyBrown wrote:

Do you have to pay at the pump? If not, you can use Samsung Pay inside the store.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
Definitely use a credit card instead. There are a lot more consumer protections when you use a credit card. You can easily dispute fraudulent charges on credit cards. Not so easy with a debit card.
Debit cards and credit cards offer the same protections. However, if your debit card gets compromised over $750, it can take longer for the funds to be reversed back into your account. On the other hand, if a credit card is compromised, you could incur a $50 fee.

"Been stuck in the middle of a vendetta between me and myself" -Citizen Cope
@HonnyBrown wrote:

Debit cards and credit cards offer the same protections. However, if your debit card gets compromised over $750, it can take longer for the funds to be reversed back into your account. On the other hand, if a credit card is compromised, you could incur a $50 fee.

I am fairly certain that this is not accurate information.

My credit cards have been "compromised" at least 20 times, and I have paid exactly $0.
Never heard of a compromised credit card incurring a fee. I've had several compromised cards with unauthorized purchases, and I've never had to pay a fee, nor pay for the things I didn't buy.
It's in the disclosures that you receive with your credit card. They "can" hold the customer liable for $50. If they don't, that's good for the cardholder.

"Been stuck in the middle of a vendetta between me and myself" -Citizen Cope
There is an Android (not sure if it's available for iPhone) app called Skimmer Scanner. Folks at this company reverse engineered some skimmers, and developed an app to detect them.

I installed it today. I'll report back on how good it is.

"Been stuck in the middle of a vendetta between me and myself" -Citizen Cope


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/05/2019 11:31PM by HonnyBrown.
I believe my sister was bragging how she would use her "points" credit card to buy gift cards at some store at a 15% discount, then use the gift cards to save. I think it might have been Sunoco gas and a grocery chain.
@wrosie wrote:

I believe my sister was bragging how she would use her "points" credit card to buy gift cards at some store at a 15% discount, then use the gift cards to save. I think it might have been Sunoco gas and a grocery chain.
Gasoline is a low margin product. If there are 15% off cards, it’s temporary. It’s likely 5% to break even.
You can buy Shell cards at Staples all day long with the right card and get 5% back. I wish they did Mobil too.

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Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
If you are referring to the E/M gas stations, the only place you should be using a card is at the pump. Inside purchases are supposed to be a "cash" purchase. Although it probably does happen, I've never seen where a "skimmer" can be placed on the pump
If it does happen to you, would not the receipt be compromised?
For the "yellow" gas stations, you should also be using your card at the pump and pay cash indoors.
For the "green" shops, I remember it specifying cash for the indoor purchase and a credit or gift card at the pump.

I was told once by a station manager that skimmers at the pump is exceeding difficult for the crooks to work correctly and, is almost immediately noticed. Indoors? a bit easier. But, he said, for the most part, the payment machine is right in front of them. Hard to place a skimmer over that and not be noticed by the attendant or the security cameras.
I believe the best way to ensure a legal card reader at the pump is to look at the card reader. Its is on a hinge and has a lock. They stick a skimmer inside to catch your pin. Just look at the lock and hinges. If its forced or looks forced, or open, I wouldn't use it. When I do see something like that or suspect something, I don't use it and move to another pump. I report it to the attendant and to the MSC.

Last of all, I check my bank account every day to ensure safety.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/06/2019 01:39PM by French Farmer.
I've used CCs and GCs for inside purchases for all E/M and Shell locations without issue. This may be an MSC thing.
BPs insist on cash. Or at least they did when they were with the same MSC as the others.

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Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
I used E/M gift cards frequently to pay at the pump and never had an issue. The only one I remember specifying “no gift cards” to pay at the pump was Sinclair.
Pump skimmers are placed inside of the pump. You know the security stickers that have to be in place for the yellow gas stations? That's where a skimmer would be placed. A skimmer is a little circuit board. It takes less than a minute to break the seal, open the door, and put the skimmer in place. The data from your card is transmitted wireless-ly.


@French Farmer wrote:

If you are referring to the E/M gas stations, the only place you should be using a card is at the pump. Inside purchases are supposed to be a "cash" purchase. Although it probably does happen, I've never seen where a "skimmer" can be placed on the pump
If it does happen to you, would not the receipt be compromised?
For the "yellow" gas stations, you should also be using your card at the pump and pay cash indoors.
For the "green" shops, I remember it specifying cash for the indoor purchase and a credit or gift card at the pump.

I was told once by a station manager that skimmers at the pump is exceeding difficult for the crooks to work correctly and, is almost immediately noticed. Indoors? a bit easier. But, he said, for the most part, the payment machine is right in front of them. Hard to place a skimmer over that and not be noticed by the attendant or the security cameras.
I believe the best way to ensure a legal card reader at the pump is to look at the card reader. Its is on a hinge and has a lock. They stick a skimmer inside to catch your pin. Just look at the lock and hinges. If its forced or looks forced, or open, I wouldn't use it. When I do see something like that or suspect something, I don't use it and move to another pump. I report it to the attendant and to the MSC.

Last of all, I check my bank account every day to ensure safety.

"Been stuck in the middle of a vendetta between me and myself" -Citizen Cope
@HonnyBrown wrote:

Pump skimmers are placed inside of the pump. You know the security stickers that have to be in place for the yellow gas stations? That's where a skimmer would be placed.

Usually done at night when the station is closed and in darkness.

______________________________________________________________________
Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
Exactly.

I used Skimmer Scanner at the gas station I shopped tonight. Nothing came up. The security sticker looked taped together, so I paid inside.

"Been stuck in the middle of a vendetta between me and myself" -Citizen Cope
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