If you’re paying at the gas pump in Tampa, be aware that advanced credit/debit card skimmers have been found on pumps at the following Shell/Circle K stations in South Tampa:
Unlike the skimmers that we’re often told to look out for — the type that are attached on top of an ATM’s or gas pump’s credit/debit card slot — these ones were installed internally, which eliminated most of the tell-tale signs of physical tampering and alteration. Whoever installed these skimmers used a master key to access the pumps’ internals and connect them directly to the pump’s computer. There’d be none of the usual warning signs, such as a dangling wire or damage around the slot where you’d insert your card. The one sign is a broken seal on the pump (see the photo at the top of this article for a photo of an intact seal).
If you’re paying at the pump in Tampa (or anywhere else, for that matter):
- Take a good look at the card reader and the seal. If either seem damaged, don’t pay at the pump.
- Favor using a credit card over a debit card. Credit cards leave a better paper trail, let you contest individual payments, and don’t give thieves access to your bank account.
- Try to use a pump that’s in line-of-sight of the attendant. Thieves are less likely to tamper with a pump in plain view of a gas station employee. Keep in mind that most gas station employees are just marking time until their break, so don’t count on their vigilance.
- If you want to play it really safe, pay inside the store…and with cash.
- Krebs on Security: All about skimmers
- About.com: How to avoid credit card skimmers
- HowStuffWorks: How does ATM skimming work?
- ABC News Tampa: Fight against credit card skimmers intensifies
Thanks to Sean Galbraith for the heads-up!