The Battle Against Skimmers Continues

A Mississippi retailer installed a burglar alarm on its pumps, while an Ohio gas station owner has secured his pumps with padlocks.

February 22, 2017

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Retailers are getting creative in their fight against credit card thieves at the pump. One Mississippi gas station operator teamed up with a burglar alarm company to arm its pumps against skimming, WDAM-TV reports.

"We’re coming up with a concept to make the pumps set off an alarm to call police departments if the doors are open and somebody tries to put a skimmer on the pumps,” said Chris McCreary, American Fire & Safety Company alarm specialist.

McCreary and the owner of the Shell station discussed possible solutions to skimming, and came up with the idea to treat gas pumps like a house. “Skimmers affect everybody: I mean it affects you, it affects the gas pumps. People don’t want to use the gas pumps because of [potential] skimmers on there,” McCreary said.

Now, anyone who opens the pump will trigger an alarm that notifies law enforcement directly. “The alarm is tied directly into the store for a separate alarm panel that strictly mans all the pumps, separate from the store’s alarm,” McCreary said.

Meanwhile, in Toledo, Ohio, Sunoco station owner Harinder Mangat put padlocks on his pumps to provide extra security against skimming. “I go and check every day, myself. We have seals on it, but they can remove the seals. But the locks, they can't do that. So that's a better idea to stop them, Mangat told WTOL-TV.

Skimming continues to plague U.S. gasoline stations, but there are other precautions retailers can take to prevent fraud. During the NACS Show, a Technology Edge panel discussed ways to combat skimming, while “Secure Your Pump” from NACS Magazine provides resources and suggestions for keeping customer card data safe.