'Skimming' scam stealing information at the pump - WNEM TV 5

'Skimming' scam stealing information at the pump

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

From the outside, the slot where you put in your credit card may look perfectly normal, but on the inside, a device may be stealing your information.

When Shirley Rocket-Booker needs to fill up, she, like most, gases up with her bank card. So far she's never been skimmed at the pump.

"I've been lucky," Rocket-Booker said.

But now state regulators want to make sure you don't fall victim to a scam that is sweeping the country. It's called skimming.

"We found a number of credit card skimming devices, we found about nine," said Jennifer Holton.

Holton is with the Department of Agriculture. The agency is leading a statewide crackdown, looking for skimmers.

About 6,000 pumps over two weeks were inspected and nine illegal devices were found. Holton said on the outside, you may not notice any out of ordinary, but she insists there are still ways to protect yourself.

"It's really about following a few common sense rules," Holton said.

Holton said regularly monitor your bank accounts. And try to avoid using pumps out that are out sight from attendants.

A credit card skimmer that records your credit card information as you swipe it. It even records the pin numbers and zip codes you enter on the keypad.

Inspectors believe the scammers have access to a universal key that opens all gas pumps, similar to how a mailperson uses a universal key to open a mailbox to a building.

Rocket-Booker said she'll be paying a little more attention next time she's filling up at the pump, to avoid being scammed by skimmers.

"It does make you cautious... you want your money where it needs to be when it's there," Rocket-Booker said.

If you notice something wrong with the swiper, for instance if it's loose or looks like it's been tampered with then do not use the pump.

Report it.

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