Today’s Topic: NCDA&CS inspectors find card skimmers at gas pumps

By on July 5, 2016

Todays-Topic

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

This spring, NCDA&CS inspectors conducted a monthlong sweep at gas stations across the state looking for credit card skimmers. Inspectors visited almost 1,000 stations in 12 counties and checked more than 8,500 dispensers. The inspectors found three skimming devices. Two were in Mecklenburg County and one was in Nash County.

Inspector checking gas pump.

Ken Hinnant, an inspector with the NCDA&CS Standards Division, checks a gas pump for a credit card skimmer. A 12-county sweep by the department earlier this year netted three skimmers.

Commissioner Troxler says thieves can install credit card skimmers at the pump. When a customer swipes their card to pay, the skimmer copies the account data from the magnetic strip on the back of the card.

NCDA&CS inspectors check gas pumps for accuracy in pricing and gallons sold, as well as fuel quality. Card skimmers have received a lot of attention in recent months, and the department’s Standards Division inspectors wanted to see what they would find across the state.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell just by looking at a pump whether it has been tampered with. Through their training, NCDA&CS inspectors have learned that it takes the average thief less than 30 seconds to install a skimmer.

One advantage of the sweep was it increased awareness of card skimmers among gas station owners. Inspectors show managers pictures of skimmers and what to look for. Having store managers’ eyes on the pumps is helpful.

When inspectors find a skimming device, they close the pump, alert the store manager and call local law enforcement. Checking for card skimmers will become a routine part of gas pump inspections, and additional sweeps are being planned.

Anyone with a concern about a gas pump can call the Standards Division at 919-707-3225. This number is also listed on the inspection sticker on the pump.

Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss this effort to find card skimmers.

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