Avoiding the Dangers Lurking at the Gas Station

9913970_mFor most of us, getting gas is just an everyday part of life, but there are a couple of trends you should know, so that you can protect yourself from thieves. A purse snatching technique, known as “sliding” involves thieves who sneak into your car while you pump your gas, and physically take your belongings. An even sneakier method is gas pump skimming which allows thieves to steal information from your credit or debit card without your knowledge when you pay at the pump.


Sliders pull up next to your car, while you are pumping gas, and steal items directly from your vehicle. Generally, they act like they are pulling up to get gas themselves, but the passenger crawls out and sneaks over to your car while you aren’t paying attention.

These simple steps can protect you from sliders:

  • Lock your doors while you pump gas.
  • Do not leave windows down while you are pumping.
  • Do not leave valuables, such as your purse, wallet, or cell phone, lying on your front seat.

Credit Card Skimming

Credit card skimmers install a device in the gas pump that reads the information from your credit card. In many cases they can download the information without having to take the risk of retrieving the device. If you pay at the pump, protecting yourself from skimming can be more difficult than deterring sliders, but here are some things that minimize your risk:

  • Choose pumps that are close to the building and facing the building, so they are always in employees’ line of sight.
  • Consider getting a gas station credit card, to limit the usefulness of the information.
  • Use a credit card rather than a debit card.
  • If you use a debit card, choose the “credit” option, rather than the debit option, so you do not have to enter your PIN. Thieves need the PIN to make cash withdrawals at an ATM.
  • Monitor your credit or debit card activity very closely so you’ll know right away if someone has made an unauthorized purchase or withdrawal.
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