On Aug. 22, 2016, Summit County Council passed Ordinance #2016-272. The fuel pump security measure was adopted by County Council to help deter credit theft and fraud from illegal credit/debit card skimmers that are being installed and used by thieves to capture customer information. The ordinance is designed to help protect consumers in the county, and took effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

The Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) has recently checked all businesses in Summit County with fuel dispensers to ensure that the ordinance is being followed. A part of the ordinance requires that all businesses located in Summit County that dispense fuel to motor vehicles will be required to affix a security sticker onto the fuel pumps scanning device panel. When an unauthorized opening of the panel takes place and the pressure sensitive sticker is tampered with the sticker will read "void." This will alert store owners and authorities that a skimming device may have been installed in the fuel pump by scammers attempting to steal customer payment card information. Illegal credit/debit card skimmers at gas pumps across the country cost consumers and gas stations millions of dollars each year.

The ordinance also provides several other measures gas station owners may enact to protect the consumer from having their credit card information stolen by people who install the skimmers. In some instances, local businesses have newer pumps that have encryption measures built in to protect the consumer. Those businesses are exempt from displaying stickers on the pumps. OCA has provided a waiver letter to the manager/owner of those stations with the newer pump technology. Consumers should ask the business management if they are uncertain. Businesses not complying with the ordinance can face fines and penalties by Summit County.

"We are pleased with the cooperation of the businesses that dispense fuel in Summit County," said Chris Verich, Deputy Director of OCA. "The station owners and managers realize that this ordinance assists in protecting their own customers and allows their customers to have a greater piece of mind regarding the security of their credit/debit card information."

Starting the first of this month, the Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs has mailed security stickers, a copy of the ordinance and a letter explaining the ordinance to more than 170 gas stations throughout the county.

For more information on this or other types of consumer issues, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs at 330-643-2879 or visit https://consumeraffairs.summitoh.net.