DELPHOS — Electronic theft is growing faster and faster. And in this pay with plastic world, that’s become especially true at the gas pump. As security measures increase in the retail world, gas pump security lags. It is also true that as technology becomes more sosphiscated, skimmers are becoming more and more prevalent. These devices enabled thieves to steal $2 billion last year.

According to Delphos Chief of Police Mark Slate, no skimmers have been found in Delphos. He urges customers to use pumps near the building or go inside to pay rather than slide and go outside. Skimmers have not been found in the City of Van Wert nor the county. Likewise none have been found in Putnam County.

Easy to find and cheap to buy, the devices can be purchased online for as little as $100. And the pumps themselves make pretty easy targets since they rely on the use of cards with magnetic strips instead of the EMV chips, now a part of many in-store card machines. According to Creditcards.com, the magnetic strip is “the last bastion,” for thieves. The magnetic strip cards lacks the layers of security that chip cards possess. Fuel station owners don’t have to update their pumps until October 2017. It’s an expensive and time consuming process. According to CreditCards.com, the industry will spend $3.9 billion revamping the 80,000 gas pumps across the nation.

In addition, fuel station owners generally use a master key for their pumps and that is easy to obtain. Skimmers are now being placed inside pumps themselves rather than using a device attached to the outside of the pump.

Besides following the Chief Slate’s advice, there are other precautions, consumers can take. Creditcard.com lists several ways to prevent thief at the pump. Look for the pumps security seal. If it’s broken or the word void appears on it it’s best to avoid that pump. Use a credit card instead of a debit card. If a credit card is skimmed it’s protected by the card’s zero-liability policy, but if you use your debit card, and thieves have your pin, they can cause real damage to your bank account. Creditcard.com also said in an online article if the use of the card feels strange, then don’t use it. If a thieve has swapped out a card reader attached to the skimmers they can deliver a strange feeling to the inserted card. If you notice this cancel the transaction and pay inside instead.