PHOENIX - Seven to eight seconds is all it takes for a crook to install a credit card skimmer at a gas station pump.
“We have a problem in our state, these scumbag crooks have developed technology that steal people’s credit card numbers and PIN numbers on the inside of gas pumps," said Mark Killian, director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture.
It's a simple device made up of wires and circuits and with a single swipe, your card info is immediately in the hands of criminals.
The Arizona Department of Agriculture is seeing a rise in skimmers.
“So far in 2017 we’ve found 50 skimming devices at gas stations throughout Arizona,” said Michelle Wilson, the associate director of Arizona Department of Agriculture's Weights and Measures Division.
In 2016, 88 skimmers were found in Arizona which meant consumers were exposed to the possibility of millions of dollars in fraudulent charges.
In an effort to make pumps more secure, credit card companies issued a new policy that would require gas station owners to install more secure payment terminals at pumps.
“If station owners haven’t installed chip card readers by October 2020, the liability shifts from the credit card companies to the station owners," said Wilson.
The original deadline was supposed to be October 2017; however, that has now been pushed back three years to October 2020.
One obvious reason behind the delay is the cost.
The National Association of Convenience Stores estimates that station operators will spend approximately $30,000 per store to accommodate chip readers.
So what can you do at pumps in the meantime until more stations upgrade?
“Make sure the security tape is intact and make sure you don’t see broken locks. Also keep a close eye on credit card statements and we don’t recommend using a debit card at gas pump,” said Wilson.
It's also recommended to use pumps in well lit areas or pumps closest to the store. Skimmers are often found on pumps furthest away from the store.
The best advice, though it can be inconvenient, is to pay inside and avoid using your card at the pump altogether.