The Massachusetts Division of Standards and municipal weights and measures inspectors recently completed inspections of 263 gas stations in 74 cities and towns statewide checking for skimming devices attached to gas pumps. After examining 1,525 pumps, the agency\u2019s 2017 Skimmer Inspection Survey reported that four skimmers were discovered inside pumps at F.L. Roberts service stations in Easthampton and Amherst on May 2nd. Local police responded to both locations to remove and recover the evidence.\n\nInspectors also found that service stations were not uniformly using security tape to indicate the upper chamber of a gas pump hadn\u2019t been tampered with. Of the 263 gas stations visited, 147 had no security tape affixed to their gas pumps. Further, the agency has learned and is warning service station owners that some thieves are now using counterfeit security tape which they place on a pump\u2019s upper chamber after placing a skimming device inside a pump.\u00a0 \u00a0\n\n\u201cDuring these inspections, compliance officers urged service station owners and managers to regularly check the inside, keypads and debit and credit card slots of their pumps,\u201d said Consumer Affairs Undersecretary John Chapman. \u201cThieves will continue using these devices and their placement can occur anywhere and at any time. Consumers need to be wary of any pump that looks as if it may have been tampered with.\n\nInspectors are also advising service station personnel to change the locks on their pumps to ones that do not use a universal key, which like skimmers, thieves can purchase on the internet.\n\nAdvice to Consumers\n\nUse pumps closest to the attendant and be aware of lighting conditions. The darkest lit and furthest pump from the attendant is a thief\u2019s ideal target.\n\tPay inside and use cash when possible. Credit and debit cards account for more than half of all U.S. gasoline purchases, making it all too easy for thieves to acquire your information.\n\tCheck the condition of the pumps and pay attention to details. Sometimes there are slight abnormalities that you may detect. If it looks suspicious or if you spot any sign of tampering, immediately notify an attendant and make sure the police are called.\n\tLook around. Some thieves use Blue Tooth technology which requires them to be within a certain distance of the pump. If a person or car seems to be lingering for too long, notify an attendant.\n\tMonitor your bank account daily and check your credit card statements. Notify your bank or card issuer if anything looks unusual or if you spot fraudulent charges.\nThe Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for all Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state\u2019s lemon laws, data breach reporting, home improvement contractor program, and the state\u2019s Do Not Call Registry. Follow the office at its\u00a0blog,\u00a0on\u00a0Facebook, and on Twitter\u00a0@Mass Consumer.