Consumers Encouraged to be Cautious When Paying at the Pump

CUNA Mutual, MMCCU’s bond insurance provider, recently issued a risk alert warning about a potential increase in risk for those who pay-at-the-pump when purchasing gas at stations.

“A big concern with paying at the pump is credit card skimmers.  The device is attached over the real credit card slot at the gas pump, so when the card is swiped, the device saves and stores card information immediately,” explained Carol Kulibert, Operations Manager at MMCCU. “The thief will keep it on the pump only for a short time and will come back to remove it.”

“Right now, these pay-at-the-pump terminals are one of the last companies where the liability for fraud and data loss from a breach at these terminals fall on the financial institution,” explained David Murphy, VP of Finance & Risk at MMCCU. “As of October 1, 2020, the liability shift will ultimately put card fraud responsibility onto the merchants.”

CUNA Mutual cautions that this arbitrary deadline may result in an increase in point-of-sale malware attacks as gas stations work on upgrading their terminals from outdated magnetic strip readers to the more current and secure EMV chip card readers.

“We encourage our members and anyone gassing up to exercise caution, or even pay inside,” said Murphy. “Many of our local gas stations take precautions to protect consumers, but it’s always prudent to be cautious as consumers. If you pay at the pump, check to make sure the terminal has not been tampered with by inspecting the terminal or seeing that pieces on the terminal are not missing or loose.”

“When using your debit card at any business, I strongly suggest covering up the keypad with other hand when putting in your PIN (Personal Identification Number),” added Kulibert. “It has been known that thieves could have cameras nearby watching you put in the PIN.  Also, there have been situations in the store where a customer standing behind you has their cellphone recording you entering the PIN. Take extreme caution to protect your account.”

Protecting personal data doesn’t stop after leaving the station, and MMCCU offers tools that can help.

“We’d encourage you to monitor the activity on your card through your online banking or a mobile app, such as our SecurLOCK Equip app,” said Murphy. “If you ever think your card has been compromised, the best move may be to close out your card and order a new card.”