SLIDELL, 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. According to the National Association for Convenience Stores, 37 million people get gas everyday. 29 million use a credit or debit card. Just one pump that has a skimmer can capture data from 30 to 100 cards per day.
Just in Louisiana, 48 skimming devices have been confiscated over the past two years. The most recent one was the skimmer found in an undisclosed, outlying gas station in St. Tammany Parish.
There are a few tips to try and protect yourself and your information.
First, use a pump that's easily seen by the gas station employees. Crooks are less likely to install a skimmer at these because they could get caught.
Second, before you put in your card, try to wiggle the card reader. If it moves, use a different pump. See if the card reader looks different than other readers at the station. In some cases you may be able to tell if a skimmer is attached. Also look for forced entry like bent panels or broken security tape.
Here's a big one. Do not enter your PIN. Even if you're using a debit card, run it as a credit card. That way your PIN is safe and the money isn't deducted immediately from your account.
These skimmers can be hard to spot and often you wont even realize your information has been stolen until you check your bank account. If you're really concerned about skimmers, you can always pay inside instead of at the pump, but hopefully these tips will keep you and your information safe.