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Some gas stations installing chip readers on pumps to cut down on fraud

Posted at 12:37 AM, Oct 17, 2017

Authorities found hundreds of skimmers at gas stations across Florida, Even though major credit card companies are pushing the deadline for chip readers at gas pumps, some companies are transitioning right now. 

It is hard finding someone who has not been a victim of credit card fraud.

"When it happened to me, it was like $650," said Coleen Sparkman.

Interactive map: Gas pump skimmers found in Tampa Bay

Sparkman's bank called her asking if she had been at a California mall on a recent shopping spree. She was nowhere near California.

That is one reason Sparkman is happy to see Speedway is installing chip readers at their gas pumps. She visits one of the company's stores off Hillsborough Avenue near her work all the time.

"Three days later I noticed $600 was taken off my card," said Andreas Harris, who also fell victim to fraud.

Not all gas stations are transitioning over at the moment. Sparkman does not believe that is good business.

"I’m sure they have the money to do it," said Sparkman. "Some of these bigger companies and if they just don’t want to they just don’t care about the consumer."

The readers cost between $500 and $1,000 dollars per pump. If companies do not install them by October 2020, they will be held responsible for any loss due to fraud. Sparkman wonders how that will even work.

"How are we going to know which gas station is the one that had the skimmer unless the police actually find it," Sparkman questioned.

Sparkman fears the cost will end up coming out of customers' pockets. The chips are harder to copy and are encrypted to prevent fraud. Harris believes crooks will still find a way.

"As long as there is crime, there is a criminal mind. As long as there is a criminal mind there is going to be new ways to commit crimes," Harris said.

Wawa and Thorsnton's are installing them chip readers now. Racetrac couldn't give ABC Action News a timeline and asked us to check back later. Chevron says it is working with hardware and software providers to ensure their independently owned stations meet the deadline.

Other companies like Exxon, Shell and BP did not respond to our request for a timeline.