$20 – pump 5

Recently, I overheard a conversation between a technician and a customer. My take away were the following words: identity theft, pay at the pump, AND the name of MY local back. Concerned, I inquired about what I hadn’t heard. My co-worker stated that there have been numerous identity theft problems with a few banks in the area. The personal information was retrieved by hackers from gas station pumps. This girl ended her story saying that she always goes inside to pay the cashier.  I found this hard to believe because this girl is all of nineteen and pretty darn lazy.  Don’t get me wrong, she’s an excellent worker, but motivation is not her strong point.

Now, those stupid take away words haunt every trip I make to the gas station.  It’s the holiday season, having a credit card issue would really suck.  Worse – with increased spending, it would be difficult to pinpoint erroneous transactions. Paying at the pump IS SO EASY.  Ugh!  Be this as it may, I decided this warning dictated a few visits inside to the attendant. Even bigger – Ugh!  Better to create a new habit before the weather worsens.  When it’s single digit temps outside, I don’t even want to pump the fucking gas let alone pay inside.

I only had to visit the cashier once to realize the error of my new way.

Quite frankly, Gas stations are just gross. I thought working retail pharmacy had some questionable clientele. One trip to the attendant on duty will make anyone rethink their professional choice.  Gas station employees usually don’t work there by choice either.  The few I’ve known balance the flexible hours with either school, another job, or family schedules.

So to validate my decision to NOT start this new habit I investigated this pay at the pump ‘situation’.

A Bluetooth enabled gas pump skimmer transmits stolen card and PIN data wirelessly while  gassing up. The devices used are smaller than a deck of cards and are often fastened in close proximity to, or over the top of the ATM’s factory-installed card reader. They connect directly to the pump’s power supply, and include a Bluetooth chip that enables thieves to retrieve the stolen data just by pulling up to the pump and opening up a laptop.

Fortunately, EMV (chip) cards have reduced the severity of card skimming. The EMV chip provides a unique code for every transaction. However, the following tips were offered to further prevent altercations –

  • Inspect The Card Reader and the Area Near the PIN Pad.
  • Trust Your Instincts: If in Doubt, Use Another Pump.
  • Avoid Using Your PIN at the Gas Pump.
  • Keep an Eye on Your Accounts.

I have identity theft on my main checking/debit account. It has warned me of past transactions that have been potentially questionable. Going forward, I’m confident that will continue. (insert: sigh of relief)

I’ve witnessed a gas station ‘regular’ struggle to buy a pack of Marlboro Lights and a Red Bull, okay? With change, nonetheless. And I deal with prescribed narcotics.  Trust me, paying at the pump is so much better than saying – $20 –  pump 5.

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