Cracking down on skimmers: bill puts pressure on gas station owners

Credit card skimmers, which can't be seen from outside the pump, can be installed in seconds.

- Credit card skimmers are still being found in Michigan more than one year after the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development found the state's first skimmer.

Officials with the MDARD are currently inspecting thousands of pumps statewide for skimmers. According to the state, workers have found 70 skimmers in the past year alone at various gas stations throughout the state.

Credit card skimmers, which can't be seen from outside the pump, can be installed in seconds. Criminals use keys to open the pumps quickly, insert the skimmers, and then leave. The skimmers copy the consumer's card information for criminals to make fraudulent purchases.

It's a tough crime to crackdown on. When workers find the skimmers, they take them out. But unless the criminals are caught in the act, it's tough to prosecute.

The problem got the attention of a local lawmaker who, just last month, introduced a bill that would put some of the burden of security on the gas station owner. So, when you see a pay-at-the-pump machine, owners would need to put in extra security steps in place to protect the customer.

If passed, House Bill 5797 would require gas stations to use pressure sensitive tape over the panel, encrypt the credit information, or install a device that shuts the pump down if the control panel is tampered with.

Still, some say they chose caution over convenience -- no matter how safe the stations make things.

The MDARD created a video to show how officials check for credit card skimmers. You can watch that here


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