BOISE, Ida. — School is out and if you're planning on hitting the road for a family road trip, you'll want to watch out for shimming scams at the gas pump.
The Better Business Bureau says con artists used to skim for information by inserting a device into gas station terminals or ATMs, harvesting payment information as customers swipe a credit or debit card. Bulky and wobbly skimmers no longer work for cards, thanks to new chip technology. Now, con artists steal information through shimming.
Shimming refers to when scammers insert a shim--a paper-thin, card-sized device with an embedded microchip and flash storage--into the slot where you enter the chip side of your credit or debit card. When you insert your card at a gas pump, ATM or another card reader, it copies and saves your payment information. Scammers then return with a special card to collect the stolen info, like your PIN and card number. They use it to make purchases with your account information.
Some local gas stations are aware of the growing problem and are taking precautions to combat shimming, like changing out machines and adding on safety tools. Many are putting special internal locks on them.
There are things you can look out for as well to make sure you're not a victim of shimming, such as stopping to look for signs of tampering and avoiding use of any machine that looks like it may have been damaged or altered. If the reader seems to have a tighter than normal grip on your card, there could be a shim inside. Cancel your transaction and notify the business. If you did insert your card and you feel like it may have been compromised, contact your bank and put alerts on your accounts.