By Ryan Quarles, Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture
Summer is a great time to make memories with family and friends. Whether you are spending your summer out on the farm, driving to your local ice cream shop, or hitting the road for a vacation, Kentuckians should be on the lookout for preying credit card skimmers seeking to steal sensitive information while you fill up your gas tank.
Credit card skimmers have been on the rise in recent years. Whether in Florida, Indiana, or here in Kentucky, skimming has become a national problem. Just this last month, Credit Union Insight reported that the federal government estimates skimming losses increased by as much as 70 percent in 2016.
The information obtained from a skimmer can result in hundreds of fraudulent charges over a single weekend. That’s why, prior to the Fourth of July holiday, I encouraged Kentuckians to be aware of this threat to their pocketbooks. Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) fuel pump inspectors already have removed four skimmers at gas pumps this summer.
This is a big issue, and we are actively working with our friends in the law enforcement community to protect Kentuckians at the pump. For the second year in a row, our inspectors are looking for evidence of tampering with fuel pumps. In the past, inspectors were not checking for skimmers, but as the threat of skimming increased, we incorporated an additional inspection into our responsibilities at the Department of Agriculture. This is part of our on-going commitment to do more with less, even as we cut our budget to help Governor Matt Bevin meet the state’s financial obligations.
Kentuckians are our best ally as we try to stop these crooks. We need you, our friends and neighbors, to be our eyes and ears out on the road. So, while you fill up at your local gas station, pay special attention to the card reader, and if you think you spot signs of tampering, please notify the KDA by calling (502) 573-0282, ext. 2, or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may be wondering, “How can I tell if someone has tampered with a card reader?” Here are a few key signs to look for:
· Locks that appear to have been compromised, or broken
· Doors that may have been pried open
· Broken or loose security tape that does not adhere to the pump
I am proud to work alongside some of the best folks in Kentucky serving the Commonwealth. The Department of Agriculture is committed to doing whatever we can to go the extra mile for our neighbors.
As your Agriculture Commissioner, I want to make sure the pocketbooks of Kentuckians are protected at the pump, and that you are not being taken advantage of by preying credit card thieves.
So when you fill up your vehicle this summer, do a quick inspection, and if you see something that looks suspicious, let the attendant know and contact law enforcement and the KDA. Don’t let your summer vacation, or your pocketbooks, be disturbed by identify theft.
Elected in 2015, Ryan Quarles currently serves as Kentucky’s Commissioner of Agriculture.
Picture: Ryan Quarles, provided.