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Skimmers Target Gas Pump

Skimmers Target Gas Pump

‘Skimming’ has been around for years, but it’s usually been something you’ve heard about with ATMs. Now, there’s a wide movement in several states where these thieves are focusing on gas pumps—they attach a small electronic device to the pump and it captures your credit card information when you swipe your card.

The average person wouldn’t know what they were looking at as the device is painted and molded to match the pump. However, officials urge people to be cautious. For now, the case doesn’t seem to be widespread across the nation. It’s currently contained within California, Washington, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Nevertheless, when it comes to possible identity theft, we should all be careful.

USA Today offers a small tutorial on what the device might look like and where it’s placed. You should definitely take a look and familiarize yourself with these devices, just in case. If you’re ever unsure when paying at the pump, it may be better to go inside, especially if you’re using a debit card as opposed to a credit card. While you’re not responsible for any charges resulting from a theft, if it cleans out your bank account you could be vulnerable while waiting on it to be returned.

Has anyone ever experienced skimming before? What happened and how did you handle it? Be informed—check out more news on reducing debt and identity theft. [USA Today]

Posted: 8/5/08