gas pump Gas and service stations nationwide are being plagued by skimmers, or devices embedded in gasoline pumps to steal credit card information, costing consumers and the petroleum industry hundreds of thousands of dollars. To battle this crime, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD): Weights and Measures Program has teamed up with the Michigan Petroleum Association (MPA). “Credit card skimmers can’t be seen by consumers when pumping gas,” MDARD Acting Laboratory Division Director Craig VanBuren says. “Using a universal key, thieves open the pump door, insert the skimmer, and close the door and leave. These devices act like a pass through. The gas station still sees the transaction, but the device makes a copy of your credit card information.”
MDARD and MPA are helping stations monitor pumps and prevent attacks. The Weights and Measures Program has jurisdiction over all gas pumps in the state. It also ensures commercial weighing and measuring devices comply with standards. MPA President Mark A. Griffin agrees, saying a lack of knowledge about these types of attacks has also left consumers and station owners at risk. MPA is working with the MDARD, the Michigan Association of Convenience Stores and law enforcement to communicate to members, their dealer customers, and motor fuel customers that these types of attacks are taking place. Owners/ operators have instituted a variety of security measures, including the use of security cameras. “Ultimately, these attacks will be stopped by greater vigilance by motor fuel retailers, their customers, and state and federal regulators,” he says. “We also believe that through the use of new technology, which is currently being rolled out nationwide, attacks will eventually be eliminated.”

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