Card skimmers: How to keep yourself safe

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With yet another card skimming scheme busted in south Louisiana, law enforcement is encouraging people to be alert and protect themselves when paying at the pump or using an ATM.

On Thursday, Gonzales police arrested Daniela-Stefania Ianev, 30, and Marius Daniel Nuta, 24, in connection to a card skimming ring stretching across several parishes, including East Baton Rouge. Inside their car, police found nearly $5,000 in cash and 57 gift cards loaded with people's data.

Officials say card skimmers can pop up anywhere, often without warning.

"It's kind of hard to tell if there's a duplicate scanner over the actual real scanner. There's no way for you to really know," said Sgt. L'Jean Mckneely with the Baton Rouge Police Department.

Once a skimmer has someone's information, they are at risk. Skimmers can take that personal data and copy it to a gift card, then start spending. So what should people do when they are at the pump or ATM? Mckneely says keep an eye out. "If you see something out of place, if you see some additional wires that you don't think should not be there, contact the service center or someone working," he said.

Oftentimes, skimmers blend in and are hard to recognize, so there are extra precautions people can take. Mckneely says the most secure thing people can do is simply pay with cash. When using a card, however, he says people should keep a close eye on their bank and credit card accounts.

"Pay attention. Know what's coming in and what's going out. And as soon as you see something that seems to be unfamiliar or doesn't seem quite right, contact a banking facility and go from there," he said.

And while nothing is 100 percent secure, he says staying alert is the best bet.

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.