Never fill up at those gas station pumps, the FBI warns – Best Life

From commuting to the office to picking up the kids from school, millions of people in the United States get behind the wheel of their car multiple times a day. Of course, such a trip requires regular trips to the gas station. But whether you fill up weekly or just once a month, every time is an opportunity for scammers to strike. With that in mind, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is now warning Americans how to protect themselves – and their wallets – when getting gas. Read on to find out which gas station pumps the FBI is warning you never to use.

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Fuel pump at a gas station

Getting gas is a necessity for most Americans, which unfortunately makes gas stations a lucrative target for thieves. According to the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), there has been an increase in reports of theft at gas stations across the country. The organization says this type of “unique environment” allows thieves to target multiple victims.

“Most of the time, service station customers leave their car doors unlocked and items such as purses and wallets are often left in plain sight,” explains the NCPC. “A thief can pull up next to the victim’s car, open an unlocked door and grab any valuables within reach. Then the thief drives off quickly. It happens in seconds.”

But as it turns out, criminals don’t even need to be there to rob you at the gas station. That’s why the FBI is now warning of another threat to watch out for.

Payment by credit card in the gas station

According to the FBI, criminals involved in “skimming” often target victims at gas stations. “Skimming occurs when devices illegally installed at ATMs, point-of-sale (POS) terminals or fuel pumps collect data or record cardholders’ PINs,” the agency said. “Criminals use the data to create fake debit or credit cards and then steal them from victims’ accounts.”

These skimmers can be placed on card readers pretty much anywhere, but gas stations are popular locations. In July, the FBI reported that two Miami-area men had been convicted in connection with a statewide gas station skimming scheme. Both admitted conspiring with others to “commit access device fraud by building skimming devices designed to steal customer information from gas stations and installing these devices in gas pumps in several boroughs of New York and elsewhere.” have,” according to the Justice Department.

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Detail of a fuel pump in a gas station

Skimmers illegally installed on gas pumps typically go unnoticed, according to the FBI. The devices are “usually attached to the internal wiring of the machine and are not visible to the customer,” warns the authority. And the data is stored in such a way that it can later be downloaded or transmitted wirelessly – without anyone seeing clear signs of theft.

Although you can’t see if fuel pumps have skimmers attached, the FBI still advises that you take certain safety measures to minimize your risk, including using specific pumps. “Choose a pump that’s closer to the store and in direct line of sight of the attendant,” the agency recommends. “These pumps are less likely targets for skimmers.”

A fuel nozzle that is inserted into a car at a gas station.

If you’ve been fueling up for years without a problem, you might find it hard to believe that you could ever become a victim of skimming. But according to the FBI, “skimming costs financial institutions and consumers more than $1 billion each year.” Because it only takes a criminal seconds to place a skimmer in a gas pump, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), it’s a crime that shows no signs of abating.

Aside from never filling up at more remote pumps, the FBI says there are other ways to protect yourself. The first recommendation is not to pay outside at the pump at all. “Remember to pay with the attendant inside,” the FBI advises, since it’s harder for criminals to get skimmers into these card readers. If you want to pay at the pump, run your debit card as a credit card for more protection.

“If you think you’ve been skimmed, contact your financial institution immediately,” the FBI advises. Never fill up at those gas station pumps, the FBI warns – Best Life

Sarah Y. Kim

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