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AZ Tech Beat | May 24, 2017

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Bluetooth gas pump skimming on the rise and how to protect your info

Bluetooth gas pump skimming on the rise and how to protect your info
Ryan Loebe

While AZ state authorities are reporting an overall decline in the number of skimming incidents at gas stations, they are trying to keep up with the sophistication of technology used to grab credit card numbers from the pump. Instead of replacing the actually credit card swiper, criminals are turning to Bluetooth technology to transmit your info to a remote site. In a recent report by the Arizona Republic, a criminal can attach an electronic data recording in a gas pump in a matter of seconds and the patron would have no idea it’s there.

credit card skimmer AZ Dept weights

Credit card skimmer – courtesy of Arizona Department of Weights and Measures

Unfortunately more of these hard-to-detect devices are being installed on gas pumps or even at bank ATMs. Arizona officials recently said such skimming devices were found on two ATMs at banks in Scottsdale. The electronic scamming device records your card number off the magnetic strip, so unless you pay cash for everything – which few of us do – we all need to be more careful than ever with our bank account numbers.

Theft Prevention Tips:

  • It was highly recommended to not use a debit card where you have to input your PIN and instead use a credit card.
  • One report indicated using a pump closer to the attendant as most skimming devices are located further away from foot traffic.
  • If convenient, go inside to pay instead of paying at the pump.
  • Do not give cash to people who offer to buy your gas at the pump with their credit card; the card could be stolen.
  • Check the machine – if you notice the credit card part is loose, cracked or damaged, or if there is any tape or residue on the machine, it could have been opened. 
  • If you suspect skimming, contact your bank and local police. Some experts suggest that you not rely on a store clerk to call police, since there have been cases in which employees were involved in the crime.
  • Check your accounts more often and call or go online to see recent transactions; don’t just wait for monthly statements.

For AZTB’s past coverage of identity theft related stories click here

Contribution from USA Today