ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. — A four-day sweep of more than 500 gas stations in Louisiana netted one credit-card skimmer being used on a gas pump in St. Tammany Parish.
Inspectors and law enforcement officers search 4,830 gas pumps at 535 gas stations in East Baton Rouge, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes according to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
The only skimmer found was in “an outlying area of St. Tammany Parish,” according to officials.
“This was an extremely successful joint effort by our department and law enforcement,” LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain said. “The goal is to stay proactive and ahead of these criminals who continue to find new ways to scam people.”
Inspectors have confiscated 48 skimming devices throughout the state in the last two years.
Once found, the skimming devices are analyzed and all customer affected are contacted.
LDAF offered these tips to protect yourself from credit-card skimmers:
- Whenever possible, do not use the debit card function at the gas pump. Use it as a credit card in order to protect your pin number.
- Monitor your debit/credit card activity online and contact your bank to report unrecognized charges.
- Whenever using a credit card, try to use a pump that is easily seen by gas station employees. Pumps that are less visible are commonly targeted because crooks can easily install a skimmer in a short period of time.
- Check the pump card reader for signs of forced entry like bent panels or broken security tape.
“We remind convenience store employees to stay alert and try to monitor what is actually taking place at a gas pump,” Strain said. “If you see someone compromising the cabinet on the pump, please call authorities to check that pump. As for consumers who do not pay with cash, be vigilant in monitoring credit card statements for unauthorized purchases.”