Commissioner Steve Troxler: Credit Card Safety at the Gas Pumps

While our NCDA&CS gas inspectors are checking pumps for accuracy, they also keep an eye out for any skimming devices that have been placed in pumps trying to steal people’s credit and debit card information. Our inspectors have seen an uptick in the numbers of these devices found in the first quarter of 2019, prompting tips for consumers. 

  • As part of their routine checks, inspectors with our Standards Division are looking to see if a pump is dispensing fuel accurately. We want to be sure if you are being charged for a gallon of gas, that you are indeed getting a gallon of gas.
  • While they are checking the pumps, they also look for any debit or cred card skimming devices that might have been illegally placed in the pump.
  • If they are found, local law enforcement is notified and the devices are removed.
  • In this first quarter of 2019, we have seen an uptick in the numbers of these devices being discovered.
  • To date, inspectors have found 23 skimmers on pumps, which compares to five in the first quarter of 2018 and 37 total for all of 2018.
  • In addition, 11 of those were in Johnston County, which indicates a more focused effort to target the county.
  • Skimmers have also been found in Davidson, Mecklenburg and Polk counties, so it’s not just one area of the state.
  • The tricky part about skimmers is that you cannot detect them simply by looking at the pump. The device is placed on the inside of the pump, which is why our inspectors come across them when we open them up to check the pump.
  • With summer travel season just around the corner, there are a few tips consumers can use to better protect themselves.
  • If possible, do not use a card at the pump. Pay for your gas inside, with either a card or cash. Inside, the attendant runs your card at a machine that has had an employee watching over it all day.
  • If you do choose to use your card at the pump, run the transaction as a credit purchase, rather than debit. With a credit transaction, you will be asked for your zip code information. Whereas a debit transaction asks for your PIN number. If a skimmer is present, credit transactions leave your checking account less vulnerable.
  • You can also ask the store management what measures they are taking to protect consumer information.
  • And, it is always a good idea to closely monitor your credit card statement for any suspicious charges that you did not make.