International news: NACS, Pinnacle launch industry’s first skimming defense app

Fuel dispenser security is of great concern for the convenience store industry. About 39 million Americans fill up their gas tanks every day and fuel dispensers have become one of many targets for thieves looking to steal credit and debit card information by ‘skimming’, an aggressive tactic used to illegally obtain consumer card data for fraudulent purposes.

NACS and The Pinnacle Corporation are helping convenience store operators enhance fuel dispenser security and combat skimming through a new mobile solution: the SkimDefend app, which works in tandem with tamper-evident NACS WeCare decals to help retailers identify potential security breaches when devices are opened to install skimming devices at fuel dispensers or other unattended PIN-entry devices.

With the SkimDefend app, store operators scan the code at each pump location where an NACS WeCare decal is applied, or enter label numbers manually. Decal usage may also be considered at other locations, such as ATMs, car wash controllers, network cabinets and PCs.

“By teaming up with Pinnacle, NACS is able to help convenience store operators combat skimming at the dispenser, and anywhere else hardware is at potential risk,” NACS Director of Products and Services Doug Spencer said. “NACS members, and especially our WeCare decal users, are encouraged to take advantage of this app while it’s free and help us enhance the power of SkimDefend by sharing usage experiences.”

“Pinnacle is pleased to bring the strength of its mobile platform to the NACS WeCare program by introducing the SkimDefend mobile app, providing retailers a powerful tool to help mitigate the risks of skimming devices,” Pinnacle Director of Product Management Melissa Hadley said.

“Our mobile platform enables us to rapidly develop and deploy both consumer-facing and internal-facing apps for convenience store operators, and SkimDefend was a natural extension of our strategy. We are excited about the extension possibilities for this app going forward.”

The SkimDefend app has two main functions:

  • To register NACS WeCare decals, their physical locations and capture their GPS coordinates.
  • To verify that NACS WeCare decals have not been tampered with – if one has, the app allows store operators to record information and take pictures of what they encountered.

The SkimDefend app creates a virtual tracking mechanism that helps store operators monitor fuel pumps, as well as help provide forensic evidence should a skimming incident occur. The app also helps combat thieves who buy and/or counterfeit tamper-evident labels by tracking only legitimately bought decals.

Gray Taylor, Executive Director of Conexxus, the convenience and fuel retailing industry’s technology standards and advocacy group, commended Pinnacle for helping NACS deliver a timely tool to assist store operators in combating skimming.

“Conexxus and NACS are constantly seeking ways to bring security to our membership, and SkimDefend is another tool that makes securing our customers’ data a bit easier,” he said. “This is a great example of how we continue to work with all stakeholders to improve our members’ profitability.”

Convenience store operators can download the SkimDefend app free of charge for Apple and Android mobile devices, and the NACS WeCare decals can be bought at nacsonline.com/wecare.

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