What to look out for to help increase chance of safe transaction at the pump

Gate Petroleum watching customers, working to keep your information safe

By Zachery Lashway - Reporter/anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Whether you’re the customer being conned or the one doing the conning, Gate Petroleum Co. wants you to know that you’re being watched very closely.  

News4Jax has reported on how skimming has victimized consumers all over Northeast Florida. Earlier this month, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced it had found 259 skimmers at gas stations statewide in the first five months of the year. In May alone, nine skimmers were found at six gas stations in Duval County.

On Tuesday, News4Jax spoke with Mark Bachara, the director of security and loss prevention at Gate Petroleum Co., who explained what people can look out for to help increase their chances of making a safe transaction at the pump.

“Just two separate cameras, basically a panoramic view, but in two different shots," he said. 

From his Mandarin office at Gate headquarters, Bachara can monitor all of Gate's 73 stores throughout Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. 

"We have HD cameras facing our pumps 24 hours a day," he said.

Several cameras that zoom in on specific pumps show colors and clear descriptions of vehicles and people. 

"We do multiple checks daily," Bachara said.

That's not all.

"We have an upgraded pump that will render the pump useless if someone tries to enter that pump," Bachara said. 

Bachara also advises people to pay close attention to the card reader area. 

"There are skimmers known as overlay skimmers and they are on the exterior of the pump and a lot of the times, they are made by a 3D printer and they will look like this apparatus -- the card reader itself on the outside and they will slip right over this," he said. "That’s why we have this security sticker here. If you do not see this sticker, it might be because there could be an overlay skimmer."

That security sticker is proprietary tape used at Gate. Bachara explained how it works.  

"If I put that down and seal it down, like I should, if I pull it back up, it is going to say, 'Void, do not open,'" he said. "That just gives you an indication. If you see that on a sticker, you might not want to use that pump."

Bachara said people should also alert the store's manager immediately if they suspect that a pump has been tampered with. 

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