Credit card companies urge gas stations to update skimming security

Thieves have put skimming equipment into gas pumps to steal information.

A gas technician said flat keypads on gas pumps are the least secure and easiest to skim credit card information from gas pumps.

The problem is such a concern that credit card giants Visa and Mastercard are putting pressure on gas stations.

By 2020, gas stations across the country have to either upgrade their security equipment or eat up credit card processing fees.

Bill Tome, a North Carolina gas distributor, is trying to stay ahead of the curve by installing new equipment at every pump he owns.

“The card is inserted, the chip is read, it goes up to the network to get an approval number, the number is sent back down and once the transaction takes place, the number disappears and will no longer be copied,” Tome said.

Skip Springer demonstrated how thieves can hack your credit card information.

“They actually stuck a screwdriver between the door and pry it open,” Springer said.

Skimming devices are installed so customers can't spot it.

"Then shut it back and ran a screw into the corner of this right into the frame of the pump to hold the door shut,” Springer said.

An attendant found a memory stick wrapped in electrical tape inside the pump during a routine weekly inspection.

"It was between the card reader and they also had it wired into the standard old-style PIN pad, so they can pick up what was coming through the card reader and any PIN codes associated,” Springer said.

Thieves may have had access to thousands of customers’ credit card information within seconds.

"Credit card numbers get stolen, then they're sold on the market,” Springer said.

"Our company has invested seven figures in putting this equipment in,” said Tome, president of Mark Oil Co.

Tome said if you're paying at a pump with an elevated keypad, it’s upgraded equipment.

Software is being developed to work with the upgraded equipment that all gas stations are expected to have by 2020.