The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection is warning people to be cautious when buying gasoline at the pump after a report of a skimming device at a gas station in Plymouth.
“People are driving more, and that means they’re filling up more, but the last thing many consumers are thinking about is whether or not their gas pump card reader is secure,” DCP Commissioner Michelle Seagull said in a statement.
Seagull urges people to pay in cash or to pay inside the gas station and said people should keep track of when and where they are stopping for gas, and regularly check their credit card statements for fraudulent activity.
“With more people hitting the road to go on summer vacations now that they’re vaccinated, it’s important to be vigilant of credit card skimming devices when you’re stopping for gas,” Attorney General William Tong said in a statement. “Before filling up your tank, check the seal of the gas pump to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with. If you can, pay with cash inside. If you plan to use your credit card to pay for gas, check your statement regularly to identify and catch potential fraud early.”
The Connecticut Department of Consumer is offering tips they said can help prevent thieves from stealing financial and identifying information:
What You Can Do at the Pump:
- Check the seal. Many stations use security seals on the fuel dispenser access panels. Make sure the seal on each gas pump isn’t broken or tampered with. If it is, that indicates that someone not authorized to inspect a gas pump has tampered with it.
- Report it to an attendant. If you see a pump that you believe may have been tampered with, don’t use it. You should report that pump’s issue to the gas station attendant.
- Use your credit card or pay by cash. If you pay by cash, you won’t fall victim to a skimming attack. If you use your credit card, you will be able to recover your funds more easily and keep money in your bank account.
- Pay inside. Paying inside reduces your risk of falling victim to a skimming attack significantly because it’s much harder for fraudsters to place a skimmer indoors near the cash register. If you must pay outside, pick the pump closest to the building or security camera.
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What You Can Do at Home:
- Check your credit card statement regularly. If you have a charge that looks unfamiliar, it’s important that you notice as soon as possible and report it immediately to your credit card company so that you can take the steps necessary to get a refund and possibly cancel your card.
- Plan your trips. If you’re taking a long road trip, plan ahead so you know where you’re getting gas and you can retrace your steps if need be. State officials cite reports that stations on or near the interstate are at the most risk for skimming.
- Notify the authorities. If you believe you’ve fallen victim to a skimming attack, make sure you alert your local police and DCP.
If you have questions for the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection or need to file a complaint related to gasoline, contact the Food and Standards Division at firstname.lastname@example.org.