Gas Pump Skimming on the Rise

The U.S. Secret Service issues skimmer warning during one of the summer’s busiest travel weeks.

July 05, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As many motorists are hitting the road over the July 4 holiday, the U.S. Secret Service announced an uptick in skimmers found in gas pumps, ABC News reports. Last weekend, the agency checked gas stations in 21 states for the devices and recovered 59 skimmers from 85 locations.

“What happens is you go to your local gas station, you put in your payment card, you pump your gas and you drive home,” said Matthew O’Neill, assistant to the special agent in charge of the agency’s Criminal Investigative Division. “But in what’s in reality happening is during that transmission process, a skimmer is acting in between where you put your card in and the point of sale terminal that’s transmitting the data to a financial institution, and they’re stealing your payment card numbers.”

The Secret Service estimated that millions of dollars annually are being stolen via such skimmers, which can be installed quickly. “It will take just a matter of minutes depending on the level of tradecraft that the fraudster has,” O’Neill said.

Criminals have also devised ways to download credit card information through Bluetooth devices. “With a Bluetooth skimmer, you don’t ever have to retrieve the skimmer if you don't want to because the data is being sent through the Bluetooth device to another Internet-connected device,” he said.

For information on how you can protect your gas pumps from skimmers, visit NACS Skimming and Payment Security.