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NORTH SALT LAKE CITY -- Maverik Inc. showed a local television station how it protects its pumps and convenience store customers from "skimming," after police in Sandy, Utah, pulled skimming devices from two separate 7-Eleven stations and classified the crime as widespread.
According to the report by KSL.com, Maverik said the problem is that two gas pump manufacturers supply most pumps nationwide and issue universal keys for those pumps, so criminals can break into many pumps with one copied universal key.
Once they break into the pump, criminals install a false keypad that records, or "skims," customers' card information. The crooks then remotely access that data with Bluetooth technology and start withdrawing money from their accounts, the report stated.
"These two keys, right here, can open virtually any pump in the nation with the exception of ours," said Maverik spokesman Brad Call. "What we've done is gone in on every pump and re-keyed it so it requires a unique key in order to access this pump."
Each Maverik store has a unique key. The company made the change after learning about the potential problem of skimming a year ago. Other gas companies have contacted Maverik about the solution, the convenience chain told the TV station.
"It would be very effective for most [retailers] to go and re-key and create their own keying system for their pumps," Call advised.
Maverik also uses high-tech, motion-activated surveillance cameras, and workers visually inspect the pumps each day. Maverik said it developed a multi-layered security system to protect the credit information of its customers, the report said.
Kirk Torgensen, Utah's chief deputy attorney general, said skimming is not new. It started a few years ago with ATMs and is growing more prevalent. The best way for consumers to protect themselves, he said, is to be vigilant in checking their credit reports.
"If there's something amiss, jump on it immediately," Torgensen said.
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