The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) is tightening the screws on credit card scammers, as they work with the U.S. Secret Service and local sheriff’s offices into continuing investigations into skimming devices at gasoline pumps.
Since June 2015, the task force has found 23 skimming devices throughout the state with alert clerks finding two for a total of 25.
The three skimming devices found by LDAF Weights and Measures inspectors were located in Ascension Parish and two different locations in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said, “As we hear more and more about this type of crime, our inspectors are removing anything suspect from the gasoline pumps.
Convenience stores also are aware we are out there looking and are alerting the LDAF and their local authorities when they believe something is wrong.”
Skimming devices are typically easily recognized when the gas pump credit card machines are opened because they are an additional attachment to the machine.
However, a new type of device is replacing the entire credit card reader making detection much harder.
“We’re now seeing skimming devices that have Bluetooth capability. This tells us these crooks are getting more and more tech savvy making it easier to access the consumer’s personal information,” said Strain.
Some tips to protect your personal information:
– Whenever possible, do not use your debit card function at the gas pump. Use it as a credit card.
– 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 which normally takes very little time.
Parishes where skimming devices have been found include: Acadia, Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Iberia, Jackson, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, St Martin, St. Mary, Tangipahoa and Vermilion.
Once the skimming devices are analyzed, all financial institutions affected are contacted by the Secret Service.