Getting Pumped by ATM Fraud at Your Gas Station

The latest and greatest round of ATM fraud in the United States and abroad. Find out how ATM fraud happens and what you can do to about it.


My use of my credit card was usually limited to online purchases until I learned that most gas stations were placing a “hold” of up to $75.00 on my debit card, which is tied to my checking account whenever I purchased gas. Now, I don’t know about you, but I do not like my money being held hostage, especially after the transaction has been completed and I have driven away until whenever that particular gas stations accounting system releases their holds. Leaving my children in the car (or heaven forbid taking them in) while I go pay in advance to avoid the hold was not an option either so I started using my credit card. I felt that using my credit card for gas purchases was safer, my children were not alone, and I didn’t need a receipt that could be accidently left for the next driver giving away important financial information. As long as I paid the bill off each month I was being responsible with my information as well as my finances.
But the new and improved methods for stealing your credit and debit just keep coming, and the most recent one involves ATM/Credit/Debit Machine fraud. In 2003 reports regarding ATM fraud included the use of telescopic cameras, card skimming devices that record from the card’s magnetic strip. Quite possible the most notable ATM fraud in recent years includes real ATM machines where people made legitimate withdrawals never knowing that their ATM card information was being stolen and recorded. Over 21,000 accounts in Florida, California and New York were compromised using this fake ATM machines.
The latest round of ATM fraud in the United States involves credit and debit card use at the pumps. As people just like me use their credit card to avoid charges and pay at the pump because of children in the car, technology in the form of malware and skimmers are being used to collect and record ATM information to be used for fraud and identity theft. In Fresno, California deputies are warning of “skimmers” that are being installed both inside and outside ATM machines in order to collect credit card numbers, and then that information is used to make fraudulent purchases.
ATM fraud isn’t just happening at the gas pump, or even just in the United States. Australia has had its share of instances of ATM fraud. On June 4th 2009, the WA News for Perth, Australia reports an investigation into ATM machines that were “compromised” during the period of February to June. Two suspects are currently under investigation.
In Eastern Europe malware programs have been discovered in use to steal credit card information from ATM’s. According to security vendor Trustwave the malware is, ” installed on ATMs running Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system that records sensitive card details.” This software can be used to collect credit card data from the back of the card as well as PIN (personal identification number), software is then used to encrypt the data and printed out on the ATM’s own printer. “The malware contains advanced management functionality allowing the attacker to fully control the compromised ATM through a customized user interface built into the malware,” Trustwave wrote.
What are some ways to avoid ATM fraud?
Deputies in Fresno, California suggest the following to keep your credit card information safe:
-go inside the store to make your purchases whenever possible
-get a receipt
-carefully check your statements each month
-if you discover a pump that appears unusual report it to the attendant
-report any discrepancies or oddities at ATM’s to the authorities, don’t count on the attendant to do it.

3 thoughts on “Getting Pumped by ATM Fraud at Your Gas Station”

  1. I live in Minnesota, an advantage when preventing identity theft from happening at the pump. We don’t need to prepay at 99% of stations here. This is one reason that identity theft happens more often in nicer and more populated climates, imo.
    There is just not much you can do when it comes to preventing this type of theft. Avoiding the machines all together is the best option. If you are a victim, the best thing to do is make sure the fraud ends as quickly as possible. Check your balances often, so you don’t end up spending months or even years clearing up your credit situation.
    Definitely a tough form of fraud to prevent in general.
    Jed

  2. It is no news that ATM hackers are increasing all over the world. The hackers tend to improve on their methods and strategies day by day.

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