Watch out for credit and fuel card skimmers!

There are few things more annoying than getting a fraud alert from your credit card company. It takes time to investigate the report, and then you have to cancel your card and await a new one and hopefully, reimbursement for the missing money. Most businesses cannot afford the disruption or expense. Unfortunately, credit card fraud is becoming all too common. The United States is the world leader in credit card fraud, with 38.6% of businesses reporting losses in 2018. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to fraud. Small companies with 10-49 employees reported losses of up to $37,258 dollars per fraud incident.

Where is your business most vulnerable? At the source of the transaction through the use of card skimmers. Credit card skimming is a huge industry problem, especially at gas stations. A gas station is an ideal place for thieves to set up this scam because most card swiping machines are unattended at the pump. All a thief has to do is insert a small device into the card reader. When a card is swiped through, the device captures the card details for the thief to use later. The problem is widespread across the nation. In Florida, they found nearly 1000 credit card skimmers at gas stations in 2018. The number of skimmers and other devices used to steal information from card readers could be much higher across the nation. Florida is one of the few states actively tracking the number of card skimmers.

For many small businesses that rely on company cards for fuel purchases, credit card skimming can be a real problem. Unless you are consistently tracking fuel purchases daily, it’s easy for a thief to rack up a sizeable fraudulent bill before you notice. That’s why it’s so important to track your expenditures diligently and to watch out for scams. Here are a few signs to look out for when using a credit card at the pump.

  • Make sure the card reader is not loose or looks like it has been tampered with or moved.
  • A card reader that sticks out further than normal. Do a quick comparison with the other pumps.
  • Voided security seal. Look for a flat, blue, or red label on the cabinet panel that says security seal. If it has been tampered with, the words “void open’ will appear in white, and it means that someone tried to access the internal machine cabinet. Notify the attendant and do not use the machine.
  • A pin pad that looks thicker than normal, seems out of place, or that has keys that are tough to push.
  • Anything that looks like it may be a small camera. Many thieves will place a small camera to capture PINs. If you notice anything unusual, notify the clerk on duty. Always cover your pin while entering it.

Many companies turn to fleet fueling cards to avoid credit card skimming. We offer a fleet fueling program to help reduce costs for our customers, for simple expense tracking, and access to 24/7 card lock fuel sites throughout the country. Unfortunately, fuel cards are susceptible to skimming scams as well. Luckily, programs like our CFN fraud program offer protections to help prevent fraud. These protections include:

  • Network-wide protection against fraudulent transactions
  • Product controls for unauthorized purchases
  • Protection from card skimming and software attacks
  • e-Receipts for quick tracking and reporting
  • Suspicious card activity alerts

These protections can help save your business from fraud, but it also helps to make sure that your delivery team knows what to look for to avoid card skimming. Make sure to teach your drivers about the signs of card reader tampering. It’s also crucial to stress the importance of protecting your fuel card and immediately reporting it when the card is lost or suspected of being stolen. These standards can help reduce the frequency of fraud attacks and save your business money.

Your role is to stay on top of your fuel expenditures. That’s where our fleet program is even more helpful. The tracking we offer can alert you to any possible fraudulent transactions quickly. Thieves know that they will be caught, so their goal is to rack up expensive purchases quickly. The faster the fraud is detected, the easier it is to cut off the card and stop it. CFN offers coverage to reimburse your business up to $25,000 for the 45-day calendar period before the card invalidation.

Unfortunately, credit and fuel card skimming will only continue to happen. You can prepare and look for the signs of tampering, but thieves are smart and will think of new ways to trick us. Gas stations and fuel cardlock sites are particularly vulnerable, which means that every time you fuel up, you could be getting scammed. Join our fleet fueling program and sign up for CFN fraud protection. It’s the only way you can guarantee that your business will have the proper protection if you fall victim to a scam. Fraud protection can save your business money and wasted time. Invest in this protection for your company today.