Skimming Devices in Pay-at-the-Pump Continue to Increase | NACS – Media – NACS Daily
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Skimming Devices in Pay-at-the-Pump Continue to Increase

Authorizing transactions would halt the growing trend, NACS says.
June 29, 2011

TUSCON, Ariz. - Oro Valley is the latest locality to issue warnings to residents about pay-at-the-pump skimming incidents, reports. From coast to coast, law enforcement officials have been launching public awareness campaigns to alert the public about potential card skimming at gasoline pumps. One Florida police department even recommended that motorists eschew pump terminal payments altogether and pay inside with cash instead.

Despite all the recent press about card skimming devices found at pay-at-the-pump terminals, the incidents are a fairly low percentage of card fraud, said Gray Taylor, PCATS executive director and NACS consultant on payment issues. However, these public awareness campaigns and media reports have driven the problem to the forefront.

"Most convenience stores are concerned about pay-at-the-pump skimming," he said. "But they can only focus on so much."

Instead, credit card firms and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard have put more pressure on retailers to focus more on network security within stores. "There are 900,000 pay-at-the-pumps out there, and, literally, I have four keys in my desk that will open up every dispenser in the United States that has not been upgraded," said Taylor. "Today, you can buy new dispensers that have unique keys. The problem is doing something with the dispensers that are out there; getting these guys to upgrade."

Card skimming at pumps have been around for years, mostly because the industry continues to use universal access keys that easily open pay-at-the-pump casings, which make it more vulnerable for thieves to insert the skimming devices. "We recommend these operators use security tape, to easily see if the enclosure has been tampered with; and we're encouraging those who can't afford to upgrade to rekey their dispensers," said Taylor. "Those are the two lowest-hanging fruits."

Taylor also recommended that each transaction be required to have a PIN for authentication. "Signature debit, we know, has more fraud. If it were up to us, we'd have done this a long time ago. It comes down to authenticating the transaction," he said.

NACS Anti-Skimming Solution
We Care is a tamper-evident label that can help retailers identify potential security breaches if skimming devices are inserted at fuel dispensers or other unattended PIN-entry devices. The labels can also help retailers address some of the PCI compliance mandates that are now required.

The security labels are to be used on fuel dispensers near the credit/debit card transaction area. If the label is lifted to insert a skimming device, a "void" message appears on the label, providing a visual alert to store employees so that additional action can be taken. Because the labels clearly indicate that they are to prevent tampering, the labels help assure customers that their data is secure, and discourage criminals targeting the store.

Protect your business and your customers €" NACS recently produced a video to show you how. You can also order the We Care decals for your stores.

NACS also has a fact sheet that examines retailer concerns about card skimming.