(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) If you are planning a road trip this summer, you might want to be cautious when filling up your vehicle.
People across the country are having their information stolen at the gas pump. Illegal skimmers are being attached to the card reader at pumps nationwide.
The skimmers look identical to a regular card reader and collect your personal banking information from the metal strip inside your debit card.
Robert Wright, Director of Risk Management for Citizens Bank and Trust, said the chip on your debit card could help protect your information at an ATM, but you should still be cautious at the gas pump.
“More and more ATMs have EMV [Europay, Mastercard, Visa], it’s the little chip on the front of your card. Which means the opportunity to skim ATMs domestically will decrease over time,” Wright said. “Gas stations do not have to comply with EMV chip requirements until 2020, so they remain a target for skimmers.”
Checking for small things like broken security seals and loose card readers could help protect your financial information.
Banks also recommend running all cards as credit at the pump to avoid giving out additional information life your PIN number.
“The key thing is that if anything doesn’t look right to you, the best advice is to not use that pump and go somewhere else,” Wright said. “Make sure you tell the operator at the gas station that you’ve seen something suspicious, because you are letting them know and you’re potentially protecting the next consumer who might use that pump as well.”
If your regularly pay at the pump when getting fuel, Wright recommends checking your banking account daily and setting up mobile alerts with your bank.
“A lot of bank accounts come with online banking account alerts that can push a text or an email that will tell you about a transaction that might be suspicious. You need to be as alert and vigilant as possible at all times to protect yourself,” Wright said.
If you think your information has been compromised by a gas station skimmer, call police immediately and use the 24 hour hotline number on the back of your debit or credit card to contact your bank’s customer service center.