BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A card-skimming device was discovered and removed during a sweep of over 500 gas stations in multiple parishes.
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Weights and Measures division inspectors and law enforcement led the four day period.
The U.S. Secret Service, Jefferson and St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Offices also participated in a sweep of 4,830 retail motor fuel dispensers at 535 gas stations in East Baton Rouge, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes from Aug. 6 to 9 to search for skimming devices. The skimmer was found in an outlying area of St. Tammany Parish.
LDAF inspectors have confiscated 48 skimming devices throughout the state over the past two years.
“We remind convenience store employees to stay alert and try to monitor what is actually taking place at a gas pump,” Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said. “If you see someone compromising the cabinet on the pump, please call authorities to check that pump. As for consumers who do not pay with cash, be vigilant in monitoring credit card statements for unauthorized purchases.”
The LDAF provided the following tips to protect your personal information:
- Whenever possible, do not use the debit card function at the gas pump. Use it as a credit card in order to protect your pin number.
- 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 in a short period of time.
- Check the pump 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.