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“Skimmers” are devices which thieves use at fuel dispensers to steal customers’ credit and debit card information from at-pump card readers. As skimming technology becomes more advanced it also becomes more prevalent. Wireless skimmers can be hidden within the dispenser, making them extremely hard to spot. In one US State alone, the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Service found 166 skimmer devices between March and December of 2015. Each skimmer may affect between 100 and 5,000 consumers before it is discovered, stealing on average $1,000 from each victim¹.
In November 2015, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced the filing of legislation² to help protect consumers from skimmers and provide better tools to combat fraud at gas stations, by:
There is also a range of options available from Franklin Fueling Systems that offers ways for station owners to protect consumers from skimming and data theft.
Fuel Management Systems
INCON™ brand TS-550 evo™ fuel management systems feature highly sophisticated processors and software. The powerful rules engine allows you to wire various inputs and outputs to determine if your fuel dispenser pump is being tampered with and, if so, what actions the tank gauge should take. Pairing the fuel management system with a few third-party sensors or accessories can greatly improve your ability to protect your fuel.
A magnetic contact sensor includes two surface mounted magnets which can send a signal to a controller when one magnet moves away from the other. Mounting a magnetic contact sensor on your dispenser access panels or your exterior doors provides added security against theft or tampering. Once paired with a TS-550 evo™, the tank gauge can sound an alarm if either the access panels or exterior doors are opened when they shouldn’t be. This feature successfully aided in the arrest of criminals attempting to install a skimming device in California in 2014³.
The TS-550 evo™ can be programmed to send two types of alarm on a triggering event: audible or silent. An audible alarm will alert station staff and could help to scare away anyone tampering with fuel dispensers. A silent alarm will send a text message or email alert to the site owner, police department or another designated contact without alerting thieves.
As skimming devices are placed in at-pump card readers it is important that station owners are able to keep an eye on these at-risk pumps, especially those further away from the storefront. TS-550 evo™ tank gauges can be paired with motion sensor devices to automatically turn on lights or video surveillance cameras when a customer pulls in to the forecourt and turn off again when they leave. This adds an extra level of security, especially for 24/7 fueling points, and also reduces costs as video surveillance equipment and lights are only turned on when they need to be.
The TS-550 evo™ can also be programmed to automatically shut down a dispenser if the video surveillance camera covering it stops working. If surveillance cameras are tampered with the affected pump will shut down, warning site owners that the pump needs to be checked for evidence of tampering. This feature can help protect a site owner from fuel theft, as well as protecting customers from skimming devices.
To help you spot skimmers, remember:
¹ CSP Daily News (08 December 2015) ‘All Hands on Deck’ to Fight Skimmers in Florida. http://www.cspnet.com/category-news/services/articles/all-hands-deck-fight-skimmers-florida
² CSP Daily News (20 November 2015) Florida Legislation Designed to Fight Skimmers. http://www.cspnet.com/fuels-news-prices-analysis/fuels-technology-equipment/articles/florida-legislation-designed-fight
³ CIOMA Insider (June 11 2014) Pump Alarm Helps Catch Suspects Installing Skimmer,
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