Paying at the Pump? Be Aware

By: Denise Wong Email
By: Denise Wong Email

"It's an intimidating thing," says Samantha Horning, a Sparks resident. She knows what it's like to be a victim of fraud. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, someone got a hold of her debit card information and started using it.

"They started charging just little charges. Started out with like 58 cents and then a dollar and then it went up to 55 dollars," says Horning.

Her credit union noticed something strange and put a hold on her account. When Samantha called them, they told her thieves had likely stolen her account information from the machine she used to pay at at a gas station, using a skimming device.

Samantha knows that she's not the only one this has been happening to because she is a counselor at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Northern Nevada.

"Recently, over the past several months, more and more people are coming to us with these issues. For some people, it's a lot more money that gets taken out of their account, as much as $1,500."

"It's happened to her and we've had quite a few clients come in and have told the same thing," says Arminda Jimenez, lead counselor at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Northern Nevada.

Roy Brennan is the owner of the 7-11 near Victorian Square. His gas station has never been hit by crooks who use skimming devices and he does everything he can to prevent his customers from becoming victims, including checking the credit card scanners at his gas pumps everyday to make sure that no one's put a skimming device on them. He also opens them up, since some thieves will try to put a skimming device inside the pumps.

"So I have a security seal that tells me whether it's been tampered with or not," he says. He checks and replaces that seal every day.

But since not every station does that, the best way to protect yourself is to pay for your gas inside the store.

"Even though it's inconvenient, it might be safer to go in there and just not have to worry about it. Because like I said, they're just so undetectable. You don't know they're there. And you don't want to become the next victim of something like that," says Jimenez.


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