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New high tech gas pumps designed to thwart skimmers

Gas stations are installing new technology to protect your money and identity at the gas pump. (WPEC)

As police announced the discovery of yet another skimming device at a local gas station, new high-tech gas pumps with greater security features have started appearing around town.

Boynton Beach Police on Thursday said officers had recovered a skimmer from a BP station at 3510 West Boynton Beach Boulevard. The agency asked the public to report skimmers at gas pumps or ATMs.

“I do watch really carefully to make sure that it is secure, to make sure I don’t get skimmed or hacked,” said Claudia Winkel, at her regular gas station, a Mobil at Summit and Congress near West Palm Beach.

Winkel said she comes here because the station sells gas at the same price for cash or credit purchases.

Recently the Mobil station installed new gas pumps, with secure, skimmer-proof chip card readers.

Business owner Elsa Edeto explained it’s impossible for thieves to install a skimmer on these pumps.

“Now, as soon as they try to open the pump, and install that card reader, it automatically shuts down,” said Edeto, who added the machinery also sends an alarm to the company.

“Very comforting,” said Winkel. “I like the new system. It is an upgrade from a couple months ago. I appreciate their taking an extra step.”

At the Shell station on Okeechobee Boulevard, just west of I-95, CBS12 also encountered new gas pumps, and these possessed yet another level of security.

The Shell station’s pumps have secure chip card readers too, like the ones found at the Mobil, and a pad to pay with your mobile device, so-called “mobile pay.”

“You don’t need your wallet,” said Marlon Esmie, who works at the Shell station. “A lot of people don’t like to travel with cash or card. They use their phones, their watches, fit-bit devices.”

Esmie said just hold your mobile device next to the mobile pay pad on the pump, and take care of your tab with your linked credit account.

“It’s promising technology,” said Esmie. “We have the technology to make skimming less of a thing. And I like where they’re going with it.”

“It’s nice to know they have taken some precautions, but still, we have to be careful,” said Winkel, the Mobil station customer.

CBS12 stopped at several gas stations in the West Palm Beach area, and found few of the new secure systems, but those in the business said they expect more installations in coming weeks and months.

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