Skimmers and Fraud Claims
The holidays are an especially popular time for skimmers, the devices used in ATMs and gas station pumps to steal credit and debit card information. Fraudsters target gas station skimmers during the holidays because the more people travel by car, the easier it is to steal a great deal of payment card information in a short time period. Skimmers can be in the card reader at the pump, or inside the pump’s cabinet.
On November 22, 2018, the U.S. Secret Service announced their latest skimming enforcement sweep, called “Operation Deep Impact.” Over 400 gas stations in 16 states were searched and almost 200 skimmers were recovered from gas station pumps. The Secret Service estimates that Operation Deep Impact prevented $6 million in fraud losses. We know that financial institutions are most likely the ones who will suffer the loss from skimming fraud, so any prevention is a good thing for credit unions.
The holidays are a great time to remind members of how they can protect themselves from gas station skimmers:
- Use pumps closest to the gas station attendant. Fraudsters are more likely to place skimmers in pumps furthest from view of the gas station attendant.
- Check for any signs of tampering on the pump. Check if the security tape on the cabinet is broken, and wiggle the card reader to see if anything comes loose.
- Run a debit card payment as credit in order to avoid using your PIN so that fraudsters cannot get your PIN too.
- Pay inside instead of at the pump.
- Review account statements regularly to spot any unauthorized charges, and if you find any report them to your credit union as soon as possible.