This article examines both of these insidious criminal activities in
more detail and provides useful tips on how to avoid becoming the
next victim.

Card skimming

Card skimming is the theft of credit and debit card data and
personal identification numbers (PIN) when the user is at an
automated teller machine (ATM) or point of sale (POS).
Card skimming allows thieves to steal money from accounts, make
purchases and sell card information to unscrupulous third parties.

Generally, the scam involves modified payment card reader
hardware that fits over an existing genuine payment device or
ATM. The bogus reader collects and passes on payment card
information to the thief. Moreover, PINs may be captured using a
hidden camera that records the user punching in their number, or
through a keypad overlay that stores the keystrokes.

Prevention is the best policy

To safeguard payment devices against fraudsters, it is important to
check the equipment regularly to look for skimming devices,
especially if the site isn’t protected by an effective deterrent, such
as surveillance cameras.

To provide a visual comparison for future checks, it is a good idea
to take a photo of the terminal on installation or once satisfied that
it is free from skimming devices.

Skimming devices can be quite difficult to spot, as they have been
purposely designed to resemble regular card readers and may even
be fitted over the whole device.

What to look for:

• Is the card reader in alignment with the panel underneath it?
• Is the card reader firm or does it feel slightly loose?
• Look inside the card reader for a thin plastic circuit board.
• Is any part of it crooked or damaged?
• Are the graphics aligned and does the colour look correct?
• Are there any cables that look out of place?
• Is there any damage to the touchscreen?
• Are there any new scratches that haven’t been noticed before?
• In some instances mini cameras are installed to collect PIN data
– so check for any unusual additions around the facia directly in
line with the pin pad.
Carrying out these simple checks on a regular basis can help to prevent
card fraud – don’t be a victim!


Drive-off incidents (often referred to as bilkings) are the biggest
scourge facing the fuel retailing industry and they continue to rise
at an exponential rate. Whilst some larger fuel networks accept
the high probability of incurring drive-off costs, for the thousands
of independent forecourts who already make a low margin on
selling fuel it’s a much bigger challenge, possibly threatening the
viability of some of the smaller operations.
It is always worth reviewing and, if necessary, tightening pump
authorisation procedures, but briefing the staff on what to look for
might be more beneficial.

Typical warning signals of a drive-off:

• The driver is still at the wheel and the passenger is filling up;
• Open doors or open boot to hide number plate;
• Number plates obscured or appear altered;
• Lights of the vehicle still switched on;
• Engine still running;
• Vehicle parked facing away from the kiosk towards an exit;
• Customer trying to hide behind their own or another vehicle
when filling up;
• Motorcyclists wearing a helmet during refuelling.

Tokheim EYETM Security Solution

These are all valuable clues for retailers to consider, but what can
be done to deter fuel thieves from targeting sites in the first place?
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras are fast becoming today’s
most cost-effective and reliable answer to crime prevention. One
such option is the Tokheim EYETM Security Solution from TSG UK.
This award-winning closed-circuit television (CCTV) solution was
designed specifically for forecourts and has proved to be an
excellent deterrent to criminals.
Tokheim EYE is an advanced high-definition (HD) camera
surveillance system, activated by the slightest of movements on
the forecourt, that is able to capture and store images of a
suspected crime. The footage can be easily retrieved and viewed
by site owners and authorised personnel, retrospectively or live,
on any smart device.

The cameras are interfaced with automatic number plate
recognition (ANPR) software and point-of sale-equipment both at
the pumps and within the kiosk. This provides a range of valuable
information linked to the camera recordings. Real-time and post-
event data includes details such as the pump number, receipt, staff
member involved, time/date and other useful transaction inputs.
Additionally, operators can make use of the extensive filtering
feature, allowing them to refine incidents by type, such as tanker
delivery or unauthorised access to dispenser cabinets. With an
effective pinch zoom feature, users are also able to quickly isolate
and focus on specific elements of the captured frame without
losing image quality.

Of course, a surefire way of preventing drive-offs is to retrofit all
of the petrol pumps with pre-pay devices, a method which has
already been widely adopted in many European countries.
However, apart from the immediate financial impact to upgrade
the pumps, many retailers are reluctant to implement pre-payment
for fear of lost sales of high-profit-margin drinks and snacks from
their convenience stores, which is a core part of their business.
To conclude, whilst there is no magic formula to completely
eradicate forecourt crime, these small but important steps can help
alleviate the problem, safeguarding fuel retailers and their

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