When it comes to pumping your gas and getting down the road, most of us are usually in a hurry. We want to get in and get out, quick to swipe our card and pump the gas. Lately, identity theft scams are getting kind of impressive. Now, criminals are installing credit card skimmers on gas pumps and ATM machines across the country. These skimmers read the magnetic strip and provide the criminal with all the information they need to go on a spending spree.
So, how do you avoid this latest scam to take your money?
There are no fool-proof ways to avoid the scams completely but there are some ways to minimize your risks. One important first step is to look at the gas pumps and ATMs closely before sharing your card. Most of the places where a skimmer have been installed to steal your information will look changed in some way. This might be an out of place sticker, an extra layer of plastic or even a fake slide. If something looks awry, move on to another gas station and contact the police.
Another way to spot these credit card skimmers is to move the slide with your hands. If they are added after the fact, they will likely fall off or move. When they are made by the manufacturer, they are going to be solid and not move in the least. Criminals will often put in a cover or piece that will move and wiggle when you try to move it.
One of the best ways to avoid such problems is to simply go inside to pay for your gas or get your money from the bank. Although this takes away our conveniences, it also keeps our identities safe. Despite the frustration, it appears that the criminals are slightly ahead of our ability to catch them. When a criminal can take all of that information at a public place like a gas station and then use that money to go on a trip to Vegas, then something is not right about that technology. We need to catch up sooner rather than later.
Credit card skimmers are becoming more advanced by the day it seems and our ability to counter them seems limited. There is absolutely no reason to be ashamed to accept temporary defeat and walk inside. As long as our society is becoming more technologically advanced, we will need to adjust to the various scams that develop. Credit card skimming at the gas pumps is just the latest version.