I-TEAM INVESTIGATION: Tips to keep from being scammed while at the gas pump

Tips to keep from being scammed while pumping gas
Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 6:38 PM EDT
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(WFSB) - A Consumer Alert this Monday.

Next time you’re at the gas pump, what should you do if you see security tape that appears to be tampered with.

Crystal Mintz of Portland took action, after noticing something was wrong with several security stickers, on the gas pumps at the Gulf on Main Street in Portland last week.

“I just happened to notice the security strip was pulled, stretched and opened, so I said hmph and I checked the other ones. Every single one of them had been compromised,” says Mintz.

Mintz says you can never be too careful, especially when it comes to being potentially hacked, or in this case, skimmed at the gas station.

A card skimmer is a device illegally installed on card readers to collect the card’s information, like number, expiration date and security code.

“You keep a step ahead, and I look for my community. I want my community safe,” says Mintz.

She immediately told the owners, and others pulling up.

“I go, don’t use your card, go inside. They didn’t even know about the security strip. I’m surprised by how people don’t know - still,” says Mintz.

Now that security tape isn’t something the state requires, but some gas stations put it there anyway, to better protect you.

According to creditcard.com, a single compromised pump can capture data from 30 to 100 cards per day.

Kaitlyn Krasselt with the CT Department of Consumer Protection says Crystal Mintz did the right thing.

“If you are at a station that uses that tape and you see it’s been tampered with, we do recommend - let the station manager know,” says Krasselt.

Krasselt also recommends paying inside, if you’re ever worried about skimmers.

“You can always pay inside, that is less likely to have been tampered with, just because you know there’s someone there watching it. Paying with cash, obviously that may not be practical for a lot of people in 2022 but that is definitely a way to avoid a credit card skimmer,” says Krasselt.

The gas station’s manager told us off camera, he had the tape on all the pumps replaced immediately, saying the tape had just been weathered down by rain.

He also said that if the pumps are tampered with, they’ll immediately shut down and the maintenance company will have to come out and reset the pump.

For Crystal, that’s not enough. She just always plays it safe.

“I don’t care what state I am in, I go in with my credit card or cash, it’s it,” says Mintz.

Another tip? Regularly check your credit card statements. If you see something off, Krasselt with Consumer Protection says call your local police station.

Consumer Protection did come out to the gas station and found nothing out of the ordinary.