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ANDERSON, Ind. — Credit card and debit card skimming continues to become a bigger headache that can damage the reputation of convenience store operators and cause nightmares for affected customers.
In an effort to steal customer credit card and debit card information, criminals install devices on the front panel of the gas pump, where the card acceptance unit is housed. Some anti-skimming measures have had some effectiveness, such as installing tamperproof tape at the fuel dispenser, as well increased training and vigilance on the part of c-store employees.
However, Ricker Oil Co. has taken its efforts much further, announcing it will invest $150,000 in anti-skimming security technology at each of its 56 gas stations and c-stores in central Indiana. Ricker’s is the first major c-store chain to implement the security system and even helped to create the technology, Jay Ricker, company founder and chairman, told CSNews Online.
“Skimming is a major concern,” he said. “Fortunately, in our case, we have been able to find [the skimmers] at our locations before thieves were able to pull the data off. We’ve had five skimming device attempts in the past three months at our network of more than 50 stores.”
The new security system, to be fully installed within three months, will notify Ricker’s management within 11 seconds if a credit card hatch has been tampered with. The pump will then be immediately placed out of order to prevent skimming until the pump is verified safe.
“We are notified by email and text that the doors have been opened at certain pumps at certain locations,” Ricker said.
For Ricker’s c-stores that have not yet been upgraded to the new security system, the retailer has security tape placed over each dispenser, which is checked twice a day by the store’s staff. If they find a seal is broken, the employee takes the pump out of service and calls an in-house technician, stated Ricker.
Although Ricker’s has clearly been vigilant regarding skimming prior to the security system, Ricker said his company its stepping up its efforts to protect its customers’ valuable information.
“I feel confident about [the security system],” he said. “We beta tested it for a couple of months first.”
Ricker concluded skimming is not only a problem at the Indiana chain, but throughout c-stores nationwide. “Skimming has definitely been a problem in Florida,” he noted. “[Criminals] tend to strike stores near an interstate in an urban area in our cases.”
Anderson-based Ricker Oil Co. was founded in 1979 by Jay and Nancy Ricker. It employs more than 800 people and is known for its RickerPop fountain drinks.