Ag commissioner to target "skimmers" in annual gas pump inspections

07/02/2016 11:13 AM

FRANKFORT — A growing problem in the U.S. are so called “skimmers” who attach a device to a gas station pump, allowing thieves to get the credit card numbers of unsuspecting users and use the data to produce fake credit cards and make fraudulent charges on the victim’s account.

On June 20, two skimming devices were found on pumps at a gas station in Versailles, and while there have not been a large number of devices found on pumps at Kentucky stations, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles acknowledges that it’s been a bigger problem in other states, and the Depatrment of Agriculture will be on the lookout for the devices as they perform annual inspections of pumps across the commonwealth.

Quarles notes that residents may be able to notice some signs that a pump has been tampered with.

“If a consumer getting ready to pump their car with gas notices that a lock on the front panel of a gas station pump has been pried open, or if it looks like it has been tampered with — some gas pumps have security tape,” Quarles said. “If that tape is broken, please notify the gas station attendant. In the event that we find a skimmer, we’re going to immediately notify local law enforcement and let them do their job with their investigation.”

Quarles says that while the number of skimming devices found of Kentucky pumps is small, the state could find itself more susceptible in the future.

“With Kentucky having three major interstates — I-75, 64, and 65 — we have a lot of gas stations,” Quarles said. “There’s 60,000 gas stations in Kentucky.”

Jason Glass, assistant director of the KDA’s Division of Regulation and Inspection, said card readers on fuel pumps are especially susceptible to tampering because pumps often are located out of sight of an attendant.

Consumers may report suspected tampering to the retailer, law enforcement or the KDA. To submit a report to the KDA, call (502) 573-0282 or email


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