According to FICO, in the first half of 2022, U.S. card skimming fraud grew by more than 700%. The world saw record breaking increases in fuel prices, costing business dearly in operating expenses. Employees shifted jobs at an ever-increasing rate as we saw the ‘Great Resignation’ and then ‘Great Renegotiation’. All of this after surviving a global pandemic. The world shifted and changed at such a fast rate, opening many points of vulnerability for those who did not change with it.
It’s no secret the world is becoming more technologically advanced and with tech advances comes advances in fraud and digital crime. Card skimming fraud is no exception. Card skimming occurs when a criminal puts a device called a skimmer over or on a card reader. False fronts on an ATM, gas pump or point-of-sale (POS) terminal are a common skimming technique, which reads and records the information on the card’s magnetic strip. More sophisticated devices use small inserts in the card reader slot, which are incredibly difficult to detect. Pinhole spy cams or false front keypads can be used in conjunction with skimmers to capture PINs, ZIP codes, or other additional security information.
The dangerous part, your transaction goes through just like any other transaction and in the blink of an eye, all your information is sent wirelessly away, downloaded, and collected by fraudsters. The unsuspecting customer and/or business is totally unaware of the breach until fraudulent charges start showing up.
The bulk of skimming happens at unattended, pay-at-the-pump gas station dispensers and if you’re a business with a fleet of vehicles, this is the first point of vulnerability you need to strengthen. The answer is simply, get a fuel card. Stop using credit cards for fuel purchases. For businesses, most drivers do not require or need to make purchases outside of fuel and fleet related supplies. If they do, usually it can wait or be purchased by a more secure individual, at a more secure location.
Criminals are going to collect every card that comes across their skimmer. A group of seven individuals captured nearly 4,000 cards across three New York counties in 2019 before being caught by authorities. Which numbers are they going to use first? Credit and debit card number. Cards, like the Guttman Fuel card offer fleet fuel card security and can only be used to purchase fuel, and if allowed, fuel related supplies. Criminals want to wipe out checking accounts from debit cards and use credit cards to purchase anything and everything across the internet. Fuel cards insulate a business, keeping exposure at the greatest source to a minimum, an absolute minimum. Daily and weekly gallon limits, further reduce potential fraud to small amounts.
Credit cards usually require a ZIP code, which are easily acquired, to make purchases, while fuel cards require each driver to enter their unique PIN. This small difference completely shuts out all skimmers that do not have the sophisticated, accompanying pinhole spy cams or key pad loggers, further protecting businesses.
The simple decision of using fuel cards to make fuel and fleet related purchases has many benefits. We’ve looked at a small aspect of their security that has large implications. The truth is, fleet fuel card security from a reporting, functionality, and turnover aspect, runs much deeper. They typically offer discounts greater than most business credit cards and can help simplify record keeping, accounting and tax filings. Not all fuel cards are created equally. Speaking with an expert, like one of Guttman’s Fleet Card Specialist, to review your current fuel card program or to implement a fuel card program is step one to securing your business from a changing world.