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Unfortunately, it is typically impossible to tell from the outside of a pump to know if there is a skimmer on the inside. Credit card skimmers are placed inside the pump by criminals and are almost never visible from the outside.
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If you believe your card has been skimmed, the first thing you should do is contact your financial institution and take precautionary measures. Additionally, if you believe you were skimmed at a gas station, please call our Weights and Measures Consumer hotline at 937-225-6309. Our staff will inspect the gas station and look for skimming devices.
Gaining access to the inside of the gas pump is, unfortunately, easy to do for a criminal. Many pumps have generic, universal locks that can be accessed if a criminal has the universal key. In this way, pump security is weak at many locations and you do not need to work at the station to gain access to the inside of the pump.
Our Weights and Measures inspectors visit every gas station in the county at least once a year for a routine inspection. By state law, the gas station is required to have its pump keys available at any time, and they are required to provide those keys to our staff for their inspections. Our inspectors get the key(s) to the pumps from the station attendant, so they can access the station's pumps and perform the inspections.
There are many places a consumer's card can be skimmed. These days, gas pumps are one of the more common places, but they are not the only one. Cards can be skimmed during online transactions, at ATM's, or in any other place where a card is used.
Thus, it can be difficult to identify where you were skimmed, or when it occurred. In many instances, criminals do not make charges on stolen cards immediately. Sometimes, it may be weeks or months after the moment you are skimmed until fraudulent charges are made.
If you have reason to believe you were skimmed at a gas station in Montgomery County, please give our Weights and Measures department a call at 937-225-6309.
While it is typically impossible to know for sure if there is a card skimmer inside of a pump, there are several tips that can be followed to protect yourself from being skimmed:
Gas stations are not required to have security seals placed over the door to the credit card reader, however, they are helpful in preventing skimmers. The responsibility is on the gas station to place security seals over the door, if they choose to do so. If you see a security seal that is broken, please inform the station attendant so they can examine the pump. Our weights and measures inspectors are not allowed to place these seals on the pumps.