Skimmers Are At Work: Don’t Use a Debit Card to Buy Gas

Photo Credit: Flickr User wajakemek

Photo Credit: Flickr User wajakemek

Ever use your debit card to buy gas? If so, you’re putting yourself at risk, as many swiping victims are finding out. According to police agencies around the country, an increasing number of credit cards and debit cards are being skimmed by criminals and identity thieves.

Why are debit card holders foolish to use their debit cards when buying gas? Because rather than just racking up a balance on a credit card, the criminals can drain your entire bank account before you even know it. Additionally, it can take days if not weeks for your financial institution to fix the issue and re-instate your balance.

According to the Yahoo story,

Though the most recent cases don’t necessarily represent an epidemic, the Secret Service is investigating incidents across the country, says Ed Donovan, spokesman for the agency, which has financial and electronic crimes units.

Skimming devices have been used for several years, most often at ATMs. Thieves increasingly target pumps because it’s a cheap, easy way to steal credit and debit card information, Van Dyke says.

“Card fraud at gas pumps is a significant problem, and that’s because of the unintended nature of the checkout devices,” he says. “Essentially, every gas pump is an electronic cash register.”

Just keep an eye out next time you’re at the pump…if something looks funny, move on to another gas terminal.