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Sunday, July 14, 2019

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Credit card 'skimmers' found at some Louisiana gas stations

Credit card 'skimmers' found at some Louisiana gas stations

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Fifteen credit card "skimming" devices have been found on gasoline pumps in different parts of Louisiana in the past month, state Secretary of Agriculture Mike Strain said Tuesday.

The devices are used by thieves to steal credit card information from motorists.

Strain said skimming devices used to be easily recognized when the gas pump credit card machines were opened because they were crudely put together and often had a homemade look, but the new skimmers are smaller and easier to hide.

Some of the newer devices also have Bluetooth capability which allows them to transmit the financial information that they steal. This means that the perpetrators do not have to remove the devices to obtain the information they have skimmed.

"Our inspectors continue to look for anything suspect and we remind convenience store employees to stay alert and try to monitor what is actually taking place at a gas pump," Strain said in a Tuesday news release. "Ask yourself, is it someone purchasing gasoline or someone manipulating the cabinet on the pump?"

The 15 devices recently found contained about 4,000 credit and debit card numbers, according to the release. They were found in Avoyelles, Calcasieu, Jefferson, Lafayette, Orleans, Rapides, St. Landry, St. Tammany and Washington parishes.

Strain is encouraging motorists who pay at the pump to closely monitor their credit and debit card charges. He also says drivers paying for gasoline at the pump should use credit cards rather than debit cards, which have pin numbers that could be compromised.

Drivers also are encouraged to use pumps that can be easily seen by gas station employees, and to check the area around the card reader for signs of forced entry like bent panels or broken security tape.

Once the skimming devices are analyzed, all financial institutions affected are contacted by the Secret Service.

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