7 Ways to Avoid Diesel Fuel Skimming

on Nov 25, 2013
7 Ways to Avoid Diesel Fuel Skimming

The practice of fuel skimming is not a new one, but as technology has improved, the sophistication has reached a point where it can be very difficult to determine if the pump you and your fleet pull up to has been compromised. A lot of the risk lies with debit cards, but it can also massively impact fuel credit cards. Brian Krebs, former Washington Post staff writer and expert on cyber crime notes the level of detail now in fuel pump skimming is greater than ever.

It can be virtually impossible for a driver to detect if the pump where he or she is fueling is set up to steal credit card information. Skimmers are utilizing Bluetooth and other technologies that don’t even require touching the pump anymore.

One particular scheme in Plymouth, Minnesota determined the fraudulent devices were actually hidden inside the pump, which would be unknown to anybody who pulls up. The couple accused of the crime is believed to have used Bluetooth to then download the card information and use that to create their own cards.

So what can you do as a fleet and what can your drivers do in order to prevent skimming from happening and taking a toll on you and your organization?

First and foremost, make sure your drivers look around the pump before filling up. While technologies and methods for skimming have gotten far more sophisticated, it never hurts to take a look and see if anything looks suspicious. If it does, the driver should report it to the truck stop immediately.

If, however, the methodology is too sophisticated to see by the naked eye, Multi Service Fuel Card offers services that can protect you against skimming fraud.

  • Set gallon limits for your drivers. You can do this through your account management portal and this causes the card to be declined after the driver reaches their gallon limit for the time frame specified. This can accomplish two goals while fighting against diesel fuel skimming. The first is if the card is skimmed, there won’t be enough gallons for the skimmer to steal much. The second is if a driver is skimmed, he or she will know quickly when they stop to fill up the next time and have no room left on their card. Multi Service Fuel Card has imposed a 300 gallon per day, per card limit on all accounts, but you can certainly change those limits, up or down, depending on your needs. To do so, contact the Multi Service Fuel Card customer service team at 1-877-673-5338 or by email here.
  • Utilize your 24/7 account access. Multi Service Fuel Card offers real-time, accurate data that allows for reports to be run at any time you need. Be sure you’re keeping up with your account because if anything looks suspicious you can report it immediately.
  • Be sure every driver has his or her own card. Most fleets distribute individual cards, but a smaller fleet may not necessarily do that. By spreading out the account over multiple cards, it does mitigate the risk by limiting the damage that can be done from someone skimming the account information from just one card.
  • Instruct drivers to use pumps closest to the storefront whenever possible. While it’s no guarantee to avoid skimming, attendants have a better view of those pumps which means it’s less likely there are issues.
  • Be sure there are no unexplained spaces around the card reader; it should be one piece of the casing at the pump. Spaces could indicate the card reader has been tampered with and should be reported to the attendant immediately.
  • Be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles. Card readers inside fuel pumps only have enough memory to hold a set number of cards, so often someone working on a skimming scheme will be parked near the station within Bluetooth or WiFi range to pull the information from the card reader immediately. If you see a suspicious vehicle, report it to the attendant immediately.
  • Newer fuel pumps actually have locks on them, which makes them far more difficult to be compromised on the inside. That doesn't mean it's impossible, but most skimming using the card reader will take place on an older pump that is easier to access. Be sure drivers are examining the pump carefully because these older pumps will have taped seals on them. If the taped seal is broken, that's a pretty good indication the pump has been compromised.

Unfortunately, skimming is happening every day, and with technology making it easier for it to occur, it will likely happen more often. Be diligent in checking your account and take the above measures to minimize your risk and not be stuck in a situation you can’t afford.

Content brought to you by the Multi Service Fuel Card. It’s simply the best overall fleet fuel card value in the market today. We offer generous credit lines, a nationwide truck stop network, the best customer service in the industry and much more. 

Scroll to top