Technology/Services

N.Y. Launches Skimming Crackdown

Cuomo announces statewide effort to eliminate illegal credit, debit card skimmers at pump

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the beginning of a new, statewide cooperative effort to crack down on illegal credit-card and debit-card skimmers at gasoline dispensers across the state of New York, “seeking to end criminals’ ability to empty the bank accounts of their victims.”

credit card at pump

With card data theft incidents on the rise across the country, the State Department of Agriculture & Markets’ Weights & Measures Bureau is conducting New York’s first-ever training and sweep of gas station dispensers across the state to proactively protect consumers and gas station owners.

Agriculture & Markets staffers will train county weights and measures officials to spot skimming devices in their communities.

There are approximately 42,000 gasoline dispensers in the state.

Inspectors spot-checked approximately 500 dispensers in the last several weeks across the state. A local weights and measures inspector spotted a skimmer in a gas dispenser in Niagara Falls, while an Agriculture & Markets weights and measures specialist found one in a dispenser in Rochester.

A subsequent investigation by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and the Rochester Police Department turned up four more skimmers at gas stations in Rochester, Scottsville, Wheatland, and Fairport.

The Weights & Measures Bureau developed a training module, which it used to educate its own supervisors and inspectors along with county-level weights and measures staff in how to identify the skimming devices.

Staff members are trained to look for various types of skimming devices:

  • Pig-tailed skimmers installed at the card reader inside the dispenser, the most common type of skimming device.
  • False keypads or card readers installed on the outside of the dispenser.
  • Bluetooth-enabled skimmers that transmit stolen information over short distances.

If a device is identified, Weights & Measures staff members will alert the gas station owner and local police.

Experts offer several ways in which people can spot skimmers and help keep themselves from becoming victims of fraud. They should check the gas pump or ATM carefully for signs of a skimmer, such as:

  • A keypad that is raised above the surface of the device.
  • A card scanner that seems loose, which is a sign of a skimmer that is snapped on top of the actual card scanner.
  • A tiny camera attached to the top or sides of the device, sometimes with temporary lighting, to capture credit-card numbers and PIN entries on video.

“With this aggressive new action, we're aiming to crackdown on this fraud before it starts by capturing these scammers in the act, and protecting the financial future of thousands of New Yorkers,” said Cuomo.

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