Personal Resource Center

Scam Alert: Card Skimming

How to prevent fraud at the gas pump
Credit card icon
Did you know? A gas station card reader that wiggles or appears unstable may have a skimmer on it.

How Do I Spot a Skimmer?

Being extra observant can help keep you from becoming a victim of card skimming. For example, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends inspecting the gas pump for security tape covering the cabinet panel. If the panel has been tampered with, the tape will display the word "void." It's also advisable to use gas pumps located closest to the attendant or pay inside the gas station.1

You can also check for tampering by wiggling various parts of the machine, like the card reader. ATMs and gas pumps are built sturdy, so any loose components could signal tampering.2

Most card skimmers use Bluetooth to transmit stolen data.2  Activate your Smartphone's Bluetooth when near a gas pump. If a long string of numbers attempts to connect, it could indicate a nearby skimmer using Bluetooth to steal information.2

What Else Can I Do to Protect Myself?

Here are some good practices to follow:

  • When possible, run your debit card as a credit purchase instead of entering a PIN like you do with a debit transaction.
  • If you must use a PIN, use your hand to cover the keypad so your entry can't be recorded. Besides using a skimming device, some scammers insert a tiny pinhole camera above the keypad area.
  • Regularly review your credit card and bank accounts regularly for unauthorized charges or withdrawals. Many banks allow you to set up card alerts that go straight to your phone or email inbox when certain types of transactions occur.


What If I Think My Card Has Been Compromised?

Report any suspicious activity on your card to your bank or card issuer. You may also wish to place a fraud alert or credit freeze on your credit report. That way, businesses must confirm your identity before approving a credit application in your name — an extra layer of protection against a card skimmer trying to use your stolen data this way.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to fight card skimming is to pay attention — to the places where you use your cards, to the monthly statements showing your card activity, and to any incorrect or unexpected items in your credit report. Being alert won't stop cyber criminals from trying to steal your data and profit from it, but it can make it much harder for them to succeed.


Read more tips for financial safety and security

Enroll in Credit and Identity Protection Services

As a Synovus Plus, Synovus Inspire, or Synovus Private Wealth customer, you can enroll in complimentary Credit and Identity Protection services. With this service, Synovus will monitor your credit reports and notify you any time any changes are made. Synovus will also scan the web to make sure your personal information hasn't been compromised by checking websites, blogs, peer-to-peer networks. Synovus also offers full-service identity restoration if you become a victim of identity theft.

Want to know more about how you can achieve peace of mind as a Synovus customer? Get your personal code by talking with your Synovus advisor and then enroll here.

Important disclosure information

  1. Los Angeles County Consumer and Public Affairs, "Understanding Card Skimmers and How to Protect Yourself," published April 17, 2023. Accessed May 14, 2024. Back
  2. The Office of Minnesota Attorney General, "ATM & Gas Pump Skimmers," accessed May 14, 2024. Back