Skimmers Target Independent Gas Stations With Older Pumps

Small, mom-and-pop retailers are more likely to be victims of skimming.

February 07, 2020

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla.—Florida has long been the epicenter of skimming, with more than a thousand found in the Sunshine State between January and September 2019, according to a report from NBC2.

So far this year, though, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit has only discovered two skimmers after checking dozens of pumps across the county. “That’s a pretty good number for us,” said Lt. Tod Goodyear. “When you think of the number of gas pumps throughout Brevard County, to now have only two we’re very happy with that.”

That’s low compared to previous years when investigators would uncover dozens of skimmers during routine checks. Goodyear attributed the decline to more retailers upgrading their pumps to EMV compliance.

However, he cautioned that criminals are switching to older pumps at independent gas stations that haven’t updated the pay-at-the-pump technology. “I think as far as [upgrading] the pumps it comes down to a financial cost,” Goodyear said. “A lot of the mom-and-pop stations don't have the money to invest in that type of technology that would help us in keeping the skimmers off their pumps.”

All gasoline pumps must be equipped to accept chip technology by October or the owners could face liability for fraud.

The December NACS Magazine cover story, “Ready or Not: Ignoring the Deadline for EMV at the Pump Could Be Costlier Than Upgrading,” offers an in-depth look at the EMV readiness issue.