LINCOLN — The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is reminding consumers to pay attention at the pump this Memorial Day weekend and always. Credit card skimmer devices have been discovered in the past by NDA inspectors during routine pump inspections at gas stations in Nebraska. Skimming and shimming devices can be attached to ATMs, gas pumps and other places where people swipe their credit and debit cards. Criminals use the devices to steal financial information.
“Weights and Measures inspectors work to verify the accuracy of gas pumps in every community in the state through routine inspections,” said Ken Tichota, administrator, Food Safety and Consumer Protection. “Those inspections are designed to ensure that consumers are getting what they pay for. Inspectors check gas pumps for skimming and shimming devices, as well, as an extra precaution.”
When using a debit or credit card, always check first to see if anything has been tampered with on the card scanning device. Some skimmer devices found at gas stations are embedded on the inside of the pump and would be difficult for consumers to see; however, card shimming devices are a bit easier for consumers to notice as they are placed over the external card reader on the gas pump.
Tichota says there are a few things that consumers can do to protect themselves from card skimming and shimming devices, including:
1. Choose a gas pump nearest to the attendant. Installers of these devices tend to prefer pumps out of the view of the station attendants.
2. Look for a tamper proof, serial numbered piece of tape over the pump access panels. If the tape is damaged in any way, do not use the pump and alert the station attendant.
3. Look for a shimmer on the pump you intend to use by comparing it to other pumps at the station. If you notice that a pump looks different, do not use it and alert the station attendant.
4. Monitor your financial accounts frequently and report any fraudulent charges immediately.