16 July 2012

Credit card skimmers INSIDE gas pumps

I've blogged the topic of credit card skimmers three times in the past.  I'll do it again this morning, because it's important.  From the StarTribune this week:
The devices, designed to copy and steal credit card information, were found installed last week in six of eight pumps at a New Hope gas station as part of an investigation that led to the arrest of a California couple. Sarkis Mkhsyan, 29, and Gohar Yesayan, 28, of Van Nuys, Calif., each were charged with nine felonies related to the scam...

A search of the couple's car uncovered elaborate software and a handwritten list of more than 100 local gas stations...

Goldstein said that older skimming devices used by criminals were visible if you knew where to look, but criminals now install the devices inside the pump. During a search of the couple's car, police found a screwdriver and cordless drill, along with a computer and the skimming software. "In short, it's very difficult for someone to know whether or not they are being victimized in this situation," he said...

Goldstein said it's safest for customers to pay for their gas inside the store, despite the inconvenience. If you do pay at the pump, he said, it's safer to use your credit card than your debit card; while money stolen from a debit account is gone, credit card companies often can stop illegal transactions. 
For those unfamiliar with this subject matter, here are the past posts:

The use of pocket-sized skimmers by restaurant employees.

Photos of a skimmer on the outside of an ATM.

Many gas pumps can be opened with the same key, regardless of brand.


  1. Would the skimmers work on the new chip credit or debit cards?

  2. I'm with you, I keep my credit cards at home and use them only for emergencies too big for cash on hand. I keep the debit card in a faraday cage wallet and I use only ATMs at banks, never at gas pumps or convenience stores. With the huge popularity of debit cards now, which is actually a good thing (you use only the money you actually have), it's only a matter of time before card issuers offer the same protections as on credit cards. Yes, probably for a fee, what else. --A.

  3. My credit union already has a $50 max liability for debit card fraud. I think more banks are already doing this than is publicly noted.


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