Authorities in Montgomery County, Philadelphia, are issuing a warning to drivers regarding a rising scam known as “pump switching” that could lead to significant financial losses.
According to the Lower Merion Police Department, this scam involves suspects approaching victims and offering to assist them in pumping gas. When the victim declines the help, the suspect may become aggressive and take control of the gas pump nozzle physically.
After the victim departs, the suspect intentionally leaves the nozzle detached from the pump to prolong the transaction. They then use the still-active nozzle to pump gas for subsequent customers, demanding cash payment. The suspect absconds with the cash before police can arrive at the scene.
In many cases, victims remain unaware of the costly incident until days or even weeks later. Authorities urge anyone encountering this “pump switching” scam to immediately report it from a safe location.
To protect themselves, drivers are advised to ensure they properly return the gas pump nozzle and press the “end transaction” button on the pump’s keypad. It’s also recommended to print a receipt at the pump or obtain one from inside the gas station as proof of the transaction.