New credit card technology could make skimming a thing of the past

(WLNS) – Two men out of Texas are facing felony charges in mid-Michigan after police say they placed skimmers inside several pumps at a Perry gas station.

The Eaton County prosecutor says he’s seeing more and more cases like this with criminals from out of town installing skimmers, then moving onto another area.

6 News Christa Lamendola has the latest on this case and how technology, used right could protect you from becoming the next victim.

Yunier Pupo & Raul Gonzalez-Falcon are charged with using what is known as a skimmer to steal customer’s credit and debit card information and using a computer to commit a crime.

This comes after police found the devices at a gas station in Perry.

Eaton County Prosecutor Douglas Lloyd says the number of skimming cases he sees continues to climb, but as 6 News found out Tuesday; the technology in this chip could stop skimmers from targeting you at the pump.

“They went into the gas pumps themselves and put the skimmers in the gas pumps,” said Eaton County Prosecutor Doug Lloyd.

You can’t see them, but time after time, these devices called skimmers, swipe and steal your credit card information when you pay for gas at the pump.

Police found these skimmers inside pumps in Perry last week and these Tuesday afternoon in Byron center.

“A consumer will never know that one of these is installed because it is behind the access panel they see no difference in the operation when they swipe their card. The store doesn’t see any difference. The transaction happens as normal. Unfortunately at that same time the device is collecting all that information from their credit card,” said Director of Consumer Protection Section for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Craig VanBuren.

But new credit card technology could soon make skimming a thing of the past.

You may have already noticed chips like this on your credit card when used with the right reader; the chip encrypts your information, making it harder for thieves to steal.

The president of the Michigan Petroleum Association says they’re working to install this technology at the pump.

But the addition of chip readers comes at a cost, several thousand dollars per pump for retailers.

“It’s just like any other additional cost. It’s going to mean that our costs will go up the consumer will see it in either higher prices or higher costs of doing business,
said Mark Griffin of the Michigan Petroleum Association.

You’ll notice the chip technology inside gas stations and retail stores by October, but you’ll want to be cautious at the pump for the next few years.

Retailers aren’t required to change the card readers to chip readers at the pump until October of 2017.

In the meantime retailers say check for security tape, use a pump that’s within sight of the attendant and wiggle the card reader to see if it is firmly in place.

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