Protecting Your Site from Card Skimmers
Convenience stores and petroleum marketers have been targeted by criminals who specialize in credit card skimming. Skimming equipment can be placed on the exterior or interior of a dispensing cabinet. Interior skimmers are typically installed near the actual card reader or within the card reader. Exterior skimmers are generally placed over the existing components, such as the keypad or card reader. Over the years, skimming devices have become smaller and harder to detect. Some even have Bluetooth capability so the thief can access the skimmed information remotely. Luckily, operators are not defenseless when it comes to protecting their sites and their customers from being victimized.
A visual inspection of your dispensing cabinets is an easy to implement practice for keeping your site safe. Check each dispenser for pry marks or scratches. Note the color and layout of the keypads used at pay-at-the-pump dispensers. False keypads may not match completely with the originals and may not lay flush against the dispenser. Sites that operate unattended or close for a portion of the day may want to conduct their inspections in the morning.
Tamper Evident Labels
NACS and several others sell tamper-evident labels that can be placed at the cabinet access doors. Not only will the label alert you if the cabinet has been opened by displaying “VOID,” but the presence of the label may deter thieves from even attempting to place a skimmer there. As a bonus, your customers will see that you are a proactive owner and feel confident in their choice to give you their business.
Additionally, some operators have purchased or printed signs that warn off potential skimmers and reassure customers that any unauthorized access into the cabinet is immediately reported to management and the local authorities.
The most effective and, unfortunately, most expensive option for protecting your site is to purchase an after-market security system. The security system can be applied to the top or bottom portion of the dispensing cabinet. This can not only protect your site from card skimmers, but from product theft as well depending on the security system. The most economical after-market option is to order specialized dispenser keys. Most manufacturers have standard keys for every model, so it’s easier for would-be thieves to make copies.