Skimming and Fraud Preventative Practices at your Gas Station
This is a reminder from Southeast Petro to be on the lookout for skimming devices and other fraud that can take place concerning your payment processing system. Learn how to protect your store from skimming and why doing this is imperative to the pulse of your business.
UPDATE: As of October 1, 2016 it is now Florida Law to use security seals on pumps. Learn more about this law here.
Security labels can help uncover skimming crime, in which a device is installed in the pump or over the top of your pin pad inside to steal data as payment cards are swiped through the reader.
The major brands recommend the “We Care” labels NACS developed that affix to the dispenser and pin pad which show “void” if the label has been disturbed.
Because the labels state they are meant to prevent tampering, their presence discourages thieves. But with more technology enhancements, the labels are not the only preventative measure you should take to be effective in curbing this type of criminal activity. Not only should the labels be properly installed, but the labels AND the pumps should be regularly monitored.
Since these labels can be purchased by anyone and replicated, we recommend using a signature on the label or another unique identifier for the label in case the thieves have replaced your label with a similar one. You must pay great attention to detail when maintaining these labels:
- Place the sticker over the opening of the dispenser access panel – not across the hinge. Record the sticker’s serial number and the fueling position, and note scratches and dents. That way, new damage can be flagged as evidence of tampering. Use a unique signature that you will recognize when checking the labels.
- Place a sticker on the plastic card reader on the outside of the dispenser to know if someone has placed a ‘dummy’ card reader over your actual reader. Again, use a signature so that you can have a unique identifier for the sticker that you can recognize if tampered with.
- Consider taking photos inside and outside the dispensers for an accurate record of “as-is” condition.
- Visually inspect inside every dispenser at least once daily. This can be done as part of shift change procedures.
- Give employees an inspection checklist and train them to use it.
- Inspect the stickers, making sure they’re intact. Verify the serial numbers against those recorded to make sure the stickers haven’t been
removed and replaced. Use a unique signature that you will recognize when checking the labels.
- Examine locks and panels for new scratches, dents or cuts.
- Remove obstructions so employees can see all dispensers from inside the store. Install cameras that can monitor the pumps more closely.
- Set standards for technician visits. Get proper IDs from technicians before work is performed on POS or dispensers. Be suspicious of unplanned service visits, especially off hours.
It is now advised that gas station owners invest in better locks for their pumps such as TuBAR branded locks. With the readily available and inexpensive universal keys available on the internet, there really is an urgency to be better protected. These locks can serve as added protection along with the seals and inspecting pumps regularly.
Newer pumps now have an alarm mechanism that will shut the pumps down and alert the store operators in case of a breach. This is the most effective way in preventing skimming.
What to do if you suspect that a skimmer has been placed on or inside your pump:
- Bag dispensers immediately and take them offline if there is evidence of tampering. Do not tamper with the device if you find it.
- If you are not sure if it is a skimmer, contact a qualified service provider to check the pump for a skimmer. If found, contact local law enforcement but leave the skimmer in place. Take photos of the skimming device while it is connected and after it has been removed.
For security seal ordering information, you will need to be a Southeast Petro customer to gain access due to fraudulent purchases of branded seals. Please request access with the below form: