Watch out for Card Skimmers at Gas Stations

Credit card skimming at gas stations is happening all over the country including here. With lots of travellers on the road, here are some tips to avoid this common technology hazard.

With the summer travel season in high gear, the FTC is warning drivers about skimming scams at the pump.

Skimmers are illegal card readers attached to payment terminals.  These card readers grab data off a credit or debit card’s magnetic stripe without your knowledge. Criminals sell the stolen data or use it to buy things online. You won’t know your information has been stolen until you get your statement or an overdraft notice.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid a skimmer when you gas up:

  • Make sure the gas pump panel is closed and doesn’t show signs of tampering. Many stations now put security seals over the cabinet panel. If the pump panel is opened, the label will read "void."

    skimmer-01.png

    Photo credit: National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) and Conexxus
     
  • Look at the card reader itself. Does it look different than other readers at the station? For example, the card reader on the left has a skimmer attached; the reader on the right doesn’t.|
     

    skimmer-02.jpg

    Photo credit: Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Kamloops, Canada
     
  • Try to wiggle the card reader before you put in your card. If it moves, report it to the attendant. Then use a different pump.
  • If you use a debit card at the pump, run it as a credit card instead of entering a PIN. That way, the PIN is safe and the money isn’t deducted immediately from your account.
  • If you’re really concerned about skimmers, pay inside rather than at the pump.
  • Monitor your credit card and bank accounts regularly to spot unauthorized charges.

If your credit card has been compromised, report it to your bank or card issuer. Federal law limits your liability if your credit, ATM, or debit card is lost or stolen, but your liability may depend on how quickly you report the loss or theft. For more information, read Lost or Stolen Credit, ATM, and Debit Cards.

 

Be Good to your PC

 used with permission from HP Tech@Work

Here’s how to keep it in top shape

Let’s be real: You probably can’t swap your PC in for a new one as often as you’d like. A PC is an investment—and taking good care of it pays off in the long run. If your PC has a few years on it and you want to make it last—or you have a new machine and you want to treat it right—here are some simple ways to keep it running smoothly and extend its life.

Keep it clean

This may seem obvious, but seriously, do not let the Sriracha sauce from your lunch drip into your laptop—it’ll cause more problems than just a sticky keyboard. Make sure these other parts are spiffy as well for maximum longevity.

  • Wipe your monitor. First dust it with a cloth, then wipe it down with glass cleaner. Better yet, use monitor wipes for serious cleaning.
  • Inspect your tower. Check the air vents on the back and remove dust and buildup. If your tower opens, clean the inside with a can of compressed air.
  • Keep peripherals tidy. Use compressed air on your keyboard and wipe it down with a cloth. Check over your mouse as well—if it has a roller ball, remove the plate and swab it with isopropyl alcohol to get the gunk off it.

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