Summer travel alert: Watch out for card skimming on gas pumps

June 10, 2022

Summer travel alert: Watch out for card skimming on gas pumps

In addition to dealing with high gas prices this summer, we would like to warn all travelers about card skimming at the gas station pump.

Card skimming is a blanket term used to describe various ways a thief can steal and clone your credit cards, ultimately to use them later to rack up charges without the owners knowledge. 

 Be on the lookout for the two main types of card skimming:

 1. RFID (contactless) Skimming: Most Flipside customers are aware of this one, also known as RFID theft. In this scenario, the thief does not have to physically touch you or your card at all. They mostly use a lap top or smaller electronic device that they carry with them to detect and read card data from RFID chips in RFID enabled credit cards. All the thief has to do to steal your credit card information is walk by your pocket in close proximity. As long as your cards are inside the main card slots of a Flipside Wallet, however, they are protected from unauthorized RFID scanning. 

2. Physical (contact) Skimming: This type of card theft happens almost always at a compromised ATM or the POS (point of sale) card reader at gas pumps. Gas pumps are usually the bigger target as they are less conspicuous for a thief to approach as they are outside and easily accessible. 

This approach requires a small and crude card reading device to be 'overlaid' onto the existing card reader at the pump. As you slide your card into the slot to pay, the skimming devices also captures your card data at the same time. 

card skimming device on gas pump

An example of a card skimming device overlaid onto the existing card reader.

When using a gap pump POS card slot or at ATM, its important to be vigilant and look for anything suspicious. A loose card slot or a paint color that doesn't quite match the rest of the reader can be telltale signs. Like many elements of your every day life, being smart and aware of these threats greatly eliminate your risk for credit card theft. 


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