Skimming devices used to steal credit and debit card data are still being found on pumps at gas stations across the country.
Watch out this holiday weekend!
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam reminded Floridians who will be hitting the roads this Labor Day weekend to be on the lookout for signs that gas pumps may have been tampered with and had skimmers placed within them.
Skimmers are devices that illegally capture consumers’ credit or debit card information. While the number of skimmers the department’s inspectors have found on gas pumps is relatively low compared to the total number of pumps in Florida, identity theft wreaks havoc on people’s lives.
“In order to better protect consumers, our inspectors routinely check for skimmers while inspecting a gas pump,” Putnam said. “While the overall number of these devices is low, we encourage Floridians and visitors to take precautions at the pump to protect their financial information.”
Read more: Clark’s identity theft guide
Consumers can take the following steps to avoid skimmers at gas stations:
- Pay in cash inside the store to ensure credit card information stays safe.
- Check to make sure the gas pump dispenser cabinet is closed and has not been tampered with. Many stations are now putting a piece of security tape over the cabinet to ensure it has not been opened by unauthorized individuals.
- Use a gas pump closer to the front of the store. Thieves often place “skimmers” at the gas pumps farther away from the store so they are not noticed as quickly.
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards have better fraud protection, and the money is not deducted immediately from an account.
- If using a debit card at the pump, choose to run it as a credit card instead of putting a PIN number in. That way, the PIN number is safe.
- Monitor bank accounts regularly to spot any unauthorized charges.
- Consumers who suspect their credit card number has been compromised should report it immediately to authorities and their credit card company.
Consumers who suspect that a gas pump has been tampered with should contact the gas station manager or local law enforcement.