Many Floridians travel to see friends and family during the holiday season, and the U.S. Department of Transportation reports that about 91 percent of long-distance holiday travel is by personal vehicle. It’s imperative to take precautions against scammers aiming to profit off holiday travel.
Card skimmers are small, electronic devices that capture information from the magnetic strip on credit or debit cards when swiped during a transaction. Over 900 of these skimmers have been found on gas pumps in Florida since March 2015, and individual skimmers have been found to hold as many as 100 credit card numbers. These devices were commonly attached to card readers on the outside of the pump, but some criminals now install skimmers inside the pump and use Bluetooth technology to transmit card and pin information. These devices are undetectable unless the pump is opened for maintenance or inspection.
Here are a few tips that will reduce your risk of encountering skimmers at the pump:
Pay inside with either cash or a credit card.
Use a pre-paid cash card to pay for your gas at the pump.
Do not use a pump that looks as though it has been tampered with.
Use the pumps closest to the front of the station, as scammers usually place skimmers in pumps furthest out of sight.
Monitor your credit and bank accounts regularly for unauthorized activity.
If you identify unauthorized activity on your accounts, contact your bank or credit card company, file a report with local authorities, and consider placing a credit freeze or fraud alert on your accounts.