Camden County residents are being advised to exercise caution when using a credit card at the gas pumps.
Authorities have discovered skimmers, small electronic devices illegally placed inside gas pumps at gas outlets in Woodbine and at the Interstate 95 interchange at Exit 1 in St. Marys, where a high volume of vehicles stop.
Capt. Larry Bruce, a Camden County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said some of the outlets are not open 24 hours, which makes it easier for skimmers to tamper with the pumps.
Some 20 complaints have been filed with the sheriff’s office in recent weeks that have been linked to gas pumps with skimmers, Bruce said.
Skimmers are illegal card readers that are attached to payment terminals on the pumps that can extract data from the card without leaving any trace.
Consumers often don’t learn their card has been compromised until they get an overdraft notice or receive an alert from the credit card company.
One way to determine if a pump may have a skimmer is to try to wiggle the card reader before inserting a credit or debit card. If it moves, report it to an attendant and use a different pump.
It is highly recommended to use a credit card to pay at the pump rather than a debit card.
If a debit card is the only option, it is recommended that people use it as a credit card rather than entering a PIN.
Authorities also recommend consumers use the pumps closest to the line of sight of store clerks or attendants. Thieves installing skimmers are less likely to put them on pumps where a store clerk can catch them in the act.
The safest way to avoid skimming is to pay with cash inside the store. Many outlets offer an added incentive to do so — a discount on the price per gallon of gas.
Skimming is also an issue in Glynn County. One motorist said he had been skimmed twice within a three-month period after using his credit card at the gas pump.