Shell Still Can’t Figure Out How To Use Anti-Theft Stickers On Gas Pumps

gasstickerskimIt’s a really great idea to try to prevent people from skimming credit cards at ATMs and gas pumps with anti-theft stickers –Â but the first important step? You gotta put the sticker in the right spot. Shell failed at this back in October, and it appears it’s still totally clueless when it comes to sticker placement.

Consumerist reader Charles sent in this pic using our mobile Tipster app, writing, “My local Shell doesn’t really get the point of this sticker.”

In order for those handy stickers to work, the sticker must be placed on the spot where someone would try to break into the machine to install a skimmer. That way, if the sticker is damaged, cut or removed, customers will be warned against using the machine.

Slapping it on any old place on the machine isn’t going to do much beyond make would-be criminals giggle at its uselessness, and customers worry their info could be stolen.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Blueskylaw says:

    Please report any broken seals to the cashier so that the cashier can
    give you that blank stare and mumble something about minimum wage.

    • BobOki says:

      This…. my local shell has every single of the stickers broken and every pump. Telling them about it they look like a deer in headlights.

      • That guy. says:

        I’d be tempted to print my own stickers to place on the pump saying,

        “ATTENTION: Above stick is broken. Your credit card is NOT SAFE on this machine!”

  2. That guy. says:

    I wonder how frustrated the Shell employee is who implemented this sticker idea/project gets when he sees things like this.

    I’d imagine the sticker came with an instructional sheet, with a drawing of where to place the sticker. Like those Ikea instructions that don’t use words, so everyone can understand it.

  3. Southern says:

    Anti-THEFT sticker?

    Shouldn’t that be an Anti-TAMPER sticker?

    • atomix says:

      Of course it’s anti-theft. It’s a sticker designed to prevent the sticker from being stolen.


      • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

        “If this sticker is not present, please call the number on the sticker below.”

    • IphtashuFitz says:

      In this case it does look more like an anti-theft sticker since the only way it would be tampered with were if somebody attempted to steal it. It certainly won’t prevent anybody from tampering with the pump or the credit card reader.

    • Northern Lights says:

      Well theft is the end goal of tampering with the machine with in the first place, I suppose, so I don’t think I’d consider either description inaccurate.

      • Southern says:

        I understand the intent, but even if a thief were to install a skimmer, they’re not technically “stealing” your credit card number, they’re “copying” it. You still have the original card, so you haven’t lost anything. :)


  4. Daggertrout says:

    So does this mean the sticker gets ripped every time they open the thing to change the receipt paper?

    • nugatory says:

      yes it does…. thats why a lot of them do what you see above. My friend owns a shell station and I’ve listened to him complaining about shell corporate and how they get them to do idiotic things like this.

      Somehow someone at shell thought it was a good solution to put a sticker over the access panel, which gets opened very often, but only send them a few stickers more than they have pumps. Think of all the people this had to touch and get approved by and not a single one actually understood how “their” gas stations run on a day to day basis.

      • zz9 says:

        Many years ago I worked for an electrical retailer that had the alarm in one store go off one night. Some suit decided that one of the “Sale” hanging signs must have set it off, so every store got a memo telling them that every hanging board must be taken down every night and put back up again every morning. Anyone who has worked retail will know that even in a small-ish store that is a few hours work. I suspect half the execs at head office had never actually been in one of the stores in their life, and the other half probably didn’t know we *had* stores.

        • nybiker says:

          It’s stories like yours that allow for the “Undercover Boss” show to exist. I’ve only watched a few and from what I saw, not one single exec had a clue as to how to do the stuff that the workers were doing. Now, I’m not saying they all have to experts at it, at the minimum you’d expect to have some inkling. Nope.
          And that’s the kind of disconnect that lets executives say with a straight face that ‘we will layoff 27,000 employees and return to greatness’ (HP, I’m looking at you).

          • Difdi says:

            Yeah, because everyone (at the main office, at least) knows an executive is a net producer of revenue, while the employees who manufacture the products, the employees who move stock around the warehouse and the employees who sell the products to customers are just dead wood that needs to be trimmed.

            And then those same executives wonder why the company keeps failing, despite all the layoffs.

  5. ShruggingGalt says:

    The stickers are practically worthless on the older machines that are PCI compliant because… have to open the whole compartment just to change the paper roll. (New ones have a separate paper compartment) So everytime you change a paper roll (maybe 1, 2x a week) you would have to put a new sticker on.

  6. Reader101 says:

    I noticed this at my local Shell yesterday (DC Metro area). I was trying to figure out how the heck it was supposed to work.

  7. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    To be fair, the gas station attendents probably don’t have a strong working knowledge of english or a high school diploma.


    • SisterMaryPollyEsther says:

      This is why they call me SisterMaryPollyEsther.

  8. CrazyEyed says:

    Everytime I use these machines now, I tug at the readers to ensure there isn’t a faux version above the real one. Thank you Consumerist for making me informed and also paranoid.

    • ShruggingGalt says:

      That won’t stop a skimmer installed behind the panel, which is VERY easy, especially if the store hasn’t changed the locks from the manufacturer’s default. (There are two cable points behind the access door, and credit card #s aren’t encrypted at swipe yet, only PINs)

      You can buy the manufacturer default keys to the pump from eBay.

      • CrazyEyed says:

        From my understanding I thought the skimmers were designed to fit on top of the panels so that they can easily be removed.

      • iesika says:

        Moral of this story is apparently pay inside. With cash.

  9. stephent says:

    If someone actually put a skimmer on this machine (in a way that a properly placed sticker would have protected against) shell could very well be held liable for any damages since they are advertising that the machine is safe.

  10. bsh0544 says:

    Why hasn’t anyone just cut the sticker in half with a knife?

    • Difdi says:

      Because then the clerk watching the security camera would report your license plate number to the police, and claim you cut the seal and installed a skimmer. When police check the pump and find a skimmer has been installed…

  11. ScarletAnn says:

    I’m thinking these skimming operations already have their own supply of stickers.

  12. RandomHookup says:

    “Broken seals”?? …but we are miles from the coast.

  13. Zelgadis says:

    The circle critters are back! :)

  14. Bardiel says:

    I have 2 Shell stations the same way. I have told them and even called in to report the stickers. Sadly they don’t give a care about it. so i check for tampering and skimmers each time i go to the pump.

  15. SeattleSeven says:

    What this should tell y’all is that even if they were installing them correctly, no one is checking them and no one cares.

  16. jeffpiatt says:

    in theory if it was near the scanner it could show if some one stuck an skimmer over it. but the point is to provide an tamper seal that would only be broken if some one opened the pump.

  17. Jawaka says:

    I think what you meant to say was that individual owners, people like us, can’t figure out how to use anti-theft stickers.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      Individual owners know how to use them but aren’t supplied with enough to cover replacements necessary because of routine & legitimate panel openings.

  18. Kestris says:

    Next time I’m at th sheel right down the block, I’m going to make a point to look at where they placed these stickers.

    Then, if they’re in the wrong spots, give them all sorts of crap for it, as I know most of the employees there, having worked there a number of years ago myself.

  19. LinisAstald says:

    Its really hard to tell from that small picture, but sometimes these are placed over a keyhole(the round kind you see on vendingmachines). I do see the keyhole on top there, and its very likely this is in the wrong spot. I’m just trying to shed some light on the fact these can sometimes entirely hide the point they are protecting(like those warranty stickers they put on top of screws.)

  20. SacraBos says:

    At my local QT, the stickers can be easily peeled off and re-applied, not much different than decorated Scotch Tape(tm)… So, not very effective for their intended purpose. But I suppose they make some people feel better.

  21. Press1forDialTone says:

    Stop getting gas at Shell, it’s a French/Dutch company with a minority US interest.
    Stop getting gas at British Petroleum/Amoco, it’s really a British company with a
    minority US interest. These foreign help companies couldn’t give a rat’s ass about
    oil spills or employee interests or safety.