As the holiday season continues, officials are warning drivers about credit card fraud at the gas pumps.
As Today reports, the Secret Service has found around 200 skimmers nationwide this holiday season that “could’ve been used to ring up some $6 million in fraud.”
Have to travel in order to have a #HappyThanksgiving2018? Don't worry, the Secret Service has you covered. This year instead of turkey we are serving up a cold dish of justice to gas pump skimmers across the country. Read about our efforts: https://t.co/9LnAsQyXGm pic.twitter.com/EO6UklU2SO
— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) November 22, 2018
Among the tips to prevent drivers from being the next victim was a cell phone hack.
According to WPTV, the Texas Department of Agriculture suggests going to your phone’s settings and hitting Bluetooth when you arrive at the gas station. If you see a device using a long string of numbers or letters for its name, there’s probably a skimmer nearby.
Today spoke with Matthew O’Neill, U.S. Secret Service Criminal Investigative Division agent, regarding the issue. He said:
“They’re easy to create. They’re easy to deploy and they can get a lot of stolen credit card data very quickly.”
The fraudulent device’s name will appear on your phone because skimmers often use Bluetooth technology.
O’Neill pointed out that, otherwise, it’s pretty much impossible for pumpers to know whether or not a skimmer is present. Today reports that Florida authorities alone expect to remove around 1,000 skimmers this year, a 50 percent increase from last year.
Seeking info about this truck that is a vehicle of interest in skimmers being placed in gas pumps in the Avon Park area. pic.twitter.com/Wd7Re8avki
— Highlands Co Sheriff (@HighCoSheriff) November 20, 2018
However, consumers can take a few other precautionary measures.
One safer alternative is going inside the gas station and paying with cash. If you do use a card at the pump, you should examine the pump’s frame to ensure it hasn’t been messed with. Consumers should also note that stations are beginning to place a piece of security tape over the cabinet to ensure it hasn’t been opened.
The department also suggests using pumps closer to the store, as they are less likely to have been tampered with. Furthermore, if you use your debit card at the pump run it as credit, so that you don’t have to enter your PIN. Lastly, you should always get a printed receipt!
If you suspect you are a victim of fraud, you should identify unauthorized charges on your account, contact your card provider and report it to police.