Money & The Economy

43 Percent of Americans Changed How They Pay for Gasoline Because of ‘Skimming’ Concerns

A survey released showed how Americans are reacting to the growing threat of gas skimming, where criminals implant devices on or in gas station fuel pumps with the intent of stealing the credit card information of unwitting customers.

Gas skimming is a growing threat to consumers at the gas pump — so much so that it has made an impact on how Americans pay for gas, according to a survey commissioned by CompareCards of American consumers who had purchased gasoline in the last 30 days. Forty-three percent of Americans said they’ve changed the way they pay for gas because of skimming concerns.

“One huge driver of this phenomenon is the fact that gas station pumps don’t need to be converted to accept EMV cards until October 2020,” said Matt Schulz, Chief Industry Analyst for CompareCards. “That makes those pumps low-hanging fruit for fraudsters.”

Key findings:

  • Fifteen percent of Americans said they’ve been a victim of skimming at the pump.
  • Forty-three percent of Americans said they’ve changed the way they pay for gas because of concerns about skimming.
  • Millennials are most likely to have changed their gas-paying habits (48 percent versus 43 percent for Gen Xers and boomers).
  • Women are slightly more likely to have changed than men (43 percent versus 48 percent).
  • Paying inside versus at the pump is the most common way (20 percent) people have changed their habits because of the risk of skimming.
  • Using cash to pay for gas is another method some have used to reduce the risk of credit card fraud

The younger you are, the more likely you are to claim you’ve been a victim of gas skimming.

Millennials seem to be the top target of skimmers. Of the millennials surveyed, 21 percent said they’ve fallen victim to gas skimming, while 15 percent of Gen Xers and 8 percent of boomers said they’ve had their credit or debit card information stolen at gas stations.

More people opt to pay inside versus at the pump.

To avoid having their credit card information stolen at the pump again, roughly two-thirds of those who claimed to be victims said they had changed how they pay for gas.

Of the victims who changed the way they pay, 45 percent said they use credit cards more, and 39 percent said they choose to pay for gas inside the gas station more. Another 16 percent said they use cash more.

“I think that ordering is really interesting,” Schulz said. “It shows that the message that ‘credit cards are safer’ is getting across. It also shows that people are taking this seriously and making changes when necessary.”

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Carl Fox

Carl Fox is the senior money and finance writer for Conservative Daily News. Follow him in the "Money & The Economy" section at CDN and see his posts on the "Junior Economists" Facebook page.

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