Credit Card Skimmers a Focus at NCWM Interim Meeting

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Florida officials discovered more credit card skimmers while providing national training for weights and measures officials at the 2018 NCWM Interim Meeting. The training is to establish a more uniform and coordinated national effort to fight this criminal activity.

Credit Card Skimmer Training

These officials discovered a credit card skimmer in this fuel dispenser during a training event.

Credit card skimmer activity continues to be on the rise.

More credit card skimmers were discovered during a special training effort for weights and measures officials from across the country. The training was provided by Florida officials as part of the 2018 National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) Interim Meeting held January 21-24 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Credit card skimmer activity is occurring in every state, but is highly prevalent in Florida where over 650 skimmers were found in 2017 by inspectors of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (department). Department officials partnered with law enforcement to provide presentations to an audience of regulators and industry representatives from across the nation. Later that day, they divided into small groups and went to fuel stations in the area to demonstrate techniques for identifying illegal credit card skimmers.

Credit card skimmers are installed in gas pumps without the retailer’s knowledge and are used to steal consumers’ credit and debit card information when they pay at the pump. In a polling of states, NCWM learned that skimmers have been found in gas pumps in all regions of the country. In some states, the weights and measures officials have teamed up with law enforcement agencies to find skimmers and investigate these crimes. This is because weights and measures inspectors already have access to fuel dispensers when performing routine inspections.

Hal Prince, chief of the department’s Bureau of Standards, reported that eleven groups performed inspections at 47 retail stations as part of this training effort and, in the process, identified 3 credit card skimmers. “Credit card skimmer activity continues to be on the rise,” said Prince. “We provided this training to establish a more uniform and coordinated national effort among weights and measures officials in combatting this type of crime.”

Prince said there are ways consumers can protect themselves from hidden credit card skimmers, but the most effective is to pay inside rather than at the pump. If paying outside, use a credit card rather than a debit card and purchase the fuel from a dispenser that is in clear eyesight of the store clerk. These dispensers are less susceptible to tampering.

The National Conference on Weights and Measures is a professional nonprofit association of state and local weights and measures officials, federal agencies, manufacturers, retailers and consumers. NCWM has developed national weights and measures standards since 1905. The organization brings the right interests together to keep pace with innovative advancements in the marketplace.

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Don Onwiler
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