Consumer Alert: Increase in skimming devices found at gasoline pumps

LAFAYETTE, La (KLFY) ­- The Louisiana Department of Agriculture (LDWF) is seeing an increase in card skimming devices at gasoline pumps. LDWF Commissioner Mike Strain says inspectors are finding one or two skimmers a week. The Ag Department says consumers have helped them find some of the devices.

LDWF says one skimmer was found in Carencro, four in Opelousas between February and March, and two last month in Avoyelles Parish in Bunkie.  The other skimmers were located in Calcasieu, Jefferson, Vernon and Washington Parishes.

LDWF adds that some of the skimmers have Bluetooth capability which means the perpetrator doesn’t have to return to get the device. “Of the 15 devices that have been turned over to Secret Service they recovered 4,000 accounts.  That’s 4,000 credit card numbers and PIN numbers,” adds Strain.

The supervisor at the Fuel N’ Food and Pizza located at 6422 Ambassador Caffery takes every precaution necessary. The owner uses the safety seal technique recommended by the state.  If the seal is broken, chances are the card reader door has been opened.

Management says if the seal is broken, don’t use the pump and let them know. “If anyone tampers with this it will say void on there and we check these on a daily basis,” says store supervisor Abdallah Dilati.

In addition to checking the pumps, the store supervisor has access to the recorded 24 hour video surveillance in and outside the store; anytime and from anywhere. “You see where you are?  That’s us.  So, it’s monitored every day,” explains Dilati.

Fuel N’ Food customer Tessa Bourque says she’s has been victimized once and has no intentions of it happening again. “They always have something on here for protection.  If that’s cut, you know not to use that pump,” says Bourque

The state says when pumping gas: Use the credit card option of your debit card to avoid having to use your PIN number. Use a pump that’s visible to the store clerk. Less visible pumps are likely targets.

Plus, check the card reader for signs it’s been compromised such as a bent panel or broken security tape. “Do not put your PIN number in there,” explains Strain.

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