The newest reason you need to watch out when paying at the pump

New scam at Gas station pumps

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -Thieves are finding new ways to steal your credit card information. They’re now using a new technique, targeting gas stations.

Before, all you had to worry about were skimmers stealing your credit card information at gas station pumps, but this new trend takes it one step farther.

“Every time we think we can relax, something new comes out,” says David Smitherman with the Better Business Bureau.

115 million people will be traveling for the holidays this year. 104 million of those will be driving. And there’s a new warning out by the credit card company Visa, wanting those drivers to know the risks before hitting the road.

“These scammers have found a way to infiltrate the gas station’s computer system, so that they’re downloading malware.”

So when you swipe your card, even though there’s no skimmer, thieves are still getting your info off that magnetic strip.

“It doesn’t surprise me. That’s what technology does, just gets better and better. It shows us that we have to be crafty too, in coming up with technology to stop them from doing what they’re doing,” says Service Technician Terry Davis.

They say the gas stations with chip card readers are more protected. That’s because the information stored on that chip requires a four-digit code, not the magnetic strip on the back. But so few gas stations actually have chip readers at the pump. Visa is hoping to change that.

“Visa has told its merchants that they must replace those old-fashioned card swipers in the pumps by October 2020. If they don’t install the new technology, and cards continue to be compromised on their pumps then the gas stations could be liable for whatever the losses are to those consumers," says Smitherman.

Officials say to watch your bank account while you travel, and consider going to pay inside, where most stations have a chip reader at the cash register.

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