Fuel Retailers Lost $250 Million Last Year to Fraud

Fraud at the pump affects both retailers and their customers.

September 25, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – A report this week from news channel WWLP in western Massachusetts informed consumers about the increasing risk of criminals using stolen or counterfeit credit cards at gas pumps — and what the industry is doing about it.

All too often, thieves use the fraudulent cards at gas pumps because they feel relatively safe away from the eye-to-eye contact of a cashier. According to technology standards organization Conexxus, convenience stores and gas stations lost 250 million dollars to credit and debit card fraud last year. And when gas stations lose money, some of those costs can end up being passed to the consumer through higher prices.

Now, both credit card companies and gas station operators are doing something about it. For instance, the news report gives the example of the F.L. Roberts Gas Station in West Springfield, where if a customer accidentally leaves their card at the pump, or if someone steals it and tries to swipe it twice to fill up their gas tank, they’ll automatically be prompted to come inside and see the cashier.

To further prevent fraud, Visa recently launched VTA, or Visa Transaction Advisor. It analyzes location and past transaction data to create a risk score. A high risk forces you to pay inside, where a clerk can verify who you are. Before VTA’s went national, Visa did a two-month pilot test in Los Angeles and saw a 23% decline in fraudulent charges.