Weekly Feature

2018-02-14 / Local News

Collins advises constituents of increased credit card skimming scams

Collins Collins Following a string of recent scams in Livingston County, Rep. Chris Collins advised area businesses and constituents to take actions to protect themselves. Credit card skimming occurs when a criminal places a device inside a fueling dispenser to illegally obtain credit or debit card information.

“It is an unfortunate reality that consumers may be at risk when filling up their tanks because of these sneaky and illegal schemes,” said Collins. “I thank Livingston County Sheriff Thomas Dougherty and all local law enforcement for working to protect our communities, and applaud businesses and individuals that are proactive in addressing the issue. I would encourage all businesses and individuals to take necessary precautions to reduce the occurrence of this unlawful activity.”

“I am pleased to see Congressman Collins work with the National Association of Convenience Stores to take proactive measures in securing personal information and preventing identity theft,” said Dougherty. “My hope is that gas station owners will take NACS up on this free training in securing their gas pumps and to enlist best practices to further protect our residents from falling victim to identity theft from simply pumping gas in their vehicle.”

To reduce the likelihood of skimming, a number of resources have been developed and shared among the retail community and with law enforcement at the federal, state and local level.

Convenience stores sell an estimated 80 percent of the fuel purchased in the country and NACS has developed resources to share among the retail community and with law enforcement at the federal, state and local level—including serialized access stickers that are placed over dispenser doors to help make it more difficult to install skimmers without being detected. It also has shared recommendations with retailers to help them reduce the likelihood their store is a target of a skimming incident.

“Approximately 40 million customers fill up every day, and retailers are actively stepping up to ensure that these transactions are secure,” said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard. “We also recommend that customers be alert for tell-tale signs that a dispenser has been compromised, whether noticing visible signs that a dispenser door has been forcibly opened or a feeling if a loosely fitting keypad that has been installed over an existing one. And if you see something that doesn’t look right, tell someone inside the store.”

Skimming may also occur at restaurants, bars, or ATMs, amounting to approximately 2.5 million locations across the country that could be compromised. Individuals are advised to use ATMs inside a store or bank where the device is controlled and monitored and to use a PIN on debit cards whenever possible instead of signature-based transactions.

Collins advised retailers and constituents to contract his office for assistance. NACS has offered to provide guidance to any local gas retailers on how to protect customers from scams. It is also recommended that victims contact both local law enforcement and Federal Trade Commission so they can better track these instances of fraud.

“In light of recent news, it is my hope that businesses will continue to do what they can to protect consumers and individuals will be quick to report any suspicious activity,” added Collins. “As a community, we can and should work together to mitigate any risks of credit card skimming.”

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