2. Avoid ancient-looking gas pumps
Opt for well-maintained service stations is the advice of Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds.
“If the pump looks 20 to 30 years old, then you should expect the lock to be easily breached,” he said.
Some stations have adopted visible anti-tampering measures, such as placing tamper-resistant tape over the front panel edges, according to NerdWallet.
3. Don’t be afraid to wiggle that dispenser
Here are some questions NerdWallet suggests you ask before inserting your card: Does it look like the front panel has been pried apart? Is the keypad raised, rather than flush against the console? Do its buttons look different from the ones at neighboring pumps? Does the card reader look different? Is the reader loose in its socket?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, the pump may have been tampered with; don’t use it.
And report any unusual activity or anything that looks out of place to the store employee.
4. Pay with cash
No card use means no risk of skimming, Reynolds says. Never use a debit card at a gas station pump: If you have to use a debit card, go inside to pay.
When a credit card is run through a skimmer, the small device stores the cardholder’s data. Once the credit information is obtained, the thief can then sell the information or clone the credit card. Thieves steal PIN numbers, Reynolds said.
5. Watch your statements if you use a credit card
If you buy gas with a credit card, keep a close watch on your statement, advises Reynolds.
Monitor monthly statements of your bank card and credit card for fraudulent charges. If you believe you have been a victim of a skimmer scam, notify police as well as your bank and credit card issuer immediately.
Sources: NerdWallet and Butler County Auditor’s Office.