Hello summer road-trippers! Here’s some bad news. It appears that gas-pump skimming has increased, according to a new report from CompareCards. Twenty-three percent of American drivers think they’ve been a victim of card skimming at the pump in the past 12 months, compared to 15% a year ago.
Fifty-one percent of the respondents said they’ve changed the way they pay for gas because they worry about skimming. Last year, only 38% said the same. CompareCards’ survey of 924 adults took place in May.
CompareCards said that the lag time for gas stations to upgrade to chip card readers is part of the problem; gas stations have until October 2020 to upgrade their terminals.
The survey found that Gen Z and millennials were most suspicious their cards had been compromised at the pump, perhaps because younger customers are more likely to use debit cards instead of credit.
How to avoid getting skimmed at the gas pump
The first step in keeping your fuel fund safe is to stop using your debit card to buy gas at the pump, period. Since debit cards don’t have the same zero-liability policy as credit cards for fraud, having your debit card compromised will cause major headaches that can take weeks or months to sort out. On top of the emotional headaches, debit fraud will very likely leave you without that stolen cash for some time.
CompareCards says to trust your gut at pump payment terminals: If it doesn’t look right, use another pump—or even try another gas station. You can also go into the gas station to pay at the counter. But again, before using plastic, look for a chip reader at the terminal.