Gas stations are one of the most common locations thieves deploy credit card skimmers. These devices are installed over the pump's card reader and record credit card information as users pay for their gas. They're then retrieved and the recorded information is downloaded.
Reports of these devices in use have popped up all over the country, typically found after an employee or customer locates the device or reports fraudulent activity. Now, at least one state is telling their inspectors to proactively look for card skimmers.
WXIA in Atlanta is reporting that the Georgia Department of Agriculture is requiring fuel inspectors to check for credit card skimmers in the course of their normal inspections.
"We want folks to have confidence in the marketplace," Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black told WXIA. "Certainly, this is an extra step we can help to provide that confidence for all our citizens."
So far, inspectors have yet to report any skimmers, but a large number of them recently found in neighboring Florida and a history of the devices in the state, including reports from as many as 100 Coweta Country residents in 2012, spurred the state into action.
Inspector Exavier Nash explained their new procedures to a WABE reporter. First they check the door of the pump the see if it is unlocked or has been tampered with. They then check the interior to make sure nothing is out of place. Next they move to the outside, checking the card reader. Skimmers often stick out further from the build in reader, so they visually check to see if it is in place, and then grab and wiggle the reader to see if it comes loose. Lastly, the move to the keypad to make sure there isn't an external one placed over the built in one to record PINs and other information entered through the pad.
Georgia officials reminded residents that they should remain vigilant and continue to check on their own, as inspectors only visit each station once every 12 to 18 months.
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