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You can imagine the headlines in your local newspaper, or on TV, “The So & So Convenience Store 100 Customer Credit Card Numbers Stolen!” In any city in America this would be devastating to your business reputation.

Here are a couple of things you can do to prevent this from happening:

· You, a manager, should visually inspect each dispenser (both sides), every day, looking for things that don’t belong, or just don’t look right. As a customer I see many different dispensers as I travel, they are all different, and I don’t know what they should look like. You know what your dispensers look like, you’ve cleaned them, you’ve installed new decals, you’ve changed the paper, etc.

· Instruct all CSR’s at your store to be on the lookout for a customer spending an unusual amount of time parked at one of your fueling positions. If they see this occur and your staffing situation will allow, have your CSR walk outside, pretend to pick up trash, sweep up and casually walk by the suspicious activity. They can start up a conversation by saying, “Hi, having a good day?” If you cannot get outside, use your intercom, “Is there a problem at Pump ? Can I help you?” This will usually scare away any potential crook. They don’t like to be noticed!

· Most illegal activity will take place at the dispenser access door on your dispenser. If this panel is on the far side from your store (not visible by the CSR) this dispenser could be the most vulnerable since the thieves can work in your blind spot. Another trick is when the crooks drive in with a large box truck and block your CSR view of the dispenser.

· I recommend changing the locks on the access panel (check with your fuel supplier first since some may require access). Make the locks specific to your store. Changing the locks is not complicated; you can do it yourself or call a professional locksmith.

· Utilize the Vendor Schedule (you received this in your Retail Management workbook). This will alert your CSR’s if you expect somebody coming to the store to service your dispensers.

· Instruct your staff what they should do if they notice suspicious activity? Call 9-1-1? Don’t assume they will take the correct action, unless you train them.

· Purchase and install ‘Security Tape’ as mentioned in the video. During your daily inspection, pay close attention to any disruption of the tape.

· Do you have a ‘written policy’ with your CSR’s regarding credit cards left behind? They should place them in your drop safe immediately!

· If you operate multiple locations, please have a procedure in place where you are checking on your staff. It’s not enough to say, “Oh, I told the manager to inspect the pumps.” You are ultimately the last line of defense for your business.

Many of you remember when I talk about the employee theft of cigarettes and lottery tickets – “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when, they will steal from you.” I’m afraid we can add skimming to that list. Be proactive BEFORE you become a victim! Your customers will thank you with their continued patronage.

Here’s a picture of an illegal device that was detected at a store on Long Island, NY. The owner called a service tech to look at his pump when it would not accept credit cards. Here is what the tech found:

Now I must admit, it does not look like much to me, but that’s the point, IT DOES NOT BELONG ON THE PUMP!

Officials in Florida recently discovered over 100 devices attached to pumps. Florida continues to lead the nation in Skimming Theft.

Don't be a victim of the 5 Dangerous Words –

‘Maybe It Won’t Happen Here!’


Maybe it will, or maybe it won’t! Do something today to prevent it from happening to you!


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Last modified: Friday June 19, 2015.