- “When a skimmer is installed, it captures an average of 30-100 cards per day.” – “Skimming and Payments Security”, NACS Online
Skimming is making headlines and the risk to retailers is greater than ever. Far from the liability issues related to comprimised credit card data, the damage to a convenience store's brand and customer loyalty can be devastating. When faced with the choice of retailers, educated consumers will actively look for environments they feel their payments are secure- and that means competitors.
According to a recent Washington Post article, "gas stations are a chief target of criminals who use data-grabbing skimmers to siphon data from drivers’ credit and ATM cards, according to law enforcement officials and gas retailers. Almost daily, the secretive and illegal devices are discovered at gas stations across the country, such as here, here and here. Earlier this month, Fairfax County police reported finding 21 skimmers at 15 different locations in the past year."
Recently, the FTC gave a list of preventative measures retailers can take to help fight skimming at their stores:
- Make pump inspection part of the daily routine for employees.
- Use and track pump security seals. These large labels are adhered to the pump, near the credit card reader. If the pump panel is opened, the label will read "void," which means the machine has been tampered with.
- Log the serial numbers on the seals. Thieves can use counterfeit security stickers, so make sure serial numbers on the seals match your station's master list.
- Look for warped or protruding surfaces. For example, card readers and PIN pads not flush with the pump’s door panel are a warning sign.
- Be suspicious of people who claim to be technicians performing unscheduled work. Check IDs and confirm scheduled work appointments. Check on vehicles parked at the pumps for a long time.
- Shut down and bag suspect pumps, and have the machine checked for skimmers.
NACS has a number of helpful resources to help spot skimming and stop it from spreading. The NACS WeCare tamper-evident labels for pump panels, tracked with the Pinnacle SkimDefend App for retailers, is a first step in preventing credit card fraud at your pumps.
With so much profit at stake and methods of stealing data getting easier and easier, for retailers to prevent skimming before it starts needs attention and diligence. Maintaining tank integrity, monitoring and recording your assets and making sure your staff is aware of the risks skimming poses are the best ways to protect your stores and your customers.