NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The art of stealing bank information at the gas pump is evolving, with criminals now using bluetooth technology.
"They just pull up, get gas or act like they're getting gas, download the data and move on. That's what makes that one even more difficult to deal with," La. Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said.
The LDAF along with the Secret Service and local law enforcement proactively seek out card skimmers on gas pumps.
Since June, officials found 23 skimming devices inside terminals. Store clerks found an additional two devices. Those 25 devices contained information of 801 different credit and debit cards. Criminals can often use universal keys to access the terminal on a gas pump and place the skimming or blue tooth device inside.
"You can't see it from outside. With the bluetooth, the thieves are able to download the data without reopening the cabinet," Strain said.
"That's even more concerning," driver Kandria Alexander said. "How do you keep your information safe from things like this? It's always something."
LDAF weighs and measure inspectors check every pump for devices.
Officials say if at all possible, use the pump where the attendant can see you because criminals often use the pump on the back side because it's very difficult to see if someone tampering with it.
"It's not just your money. They get all your information," driver Janice Dena said. "There was a person who got my social security. I had to go to the bank and let them know, this is me. I'm Janice! Whoever y'all giving my money to is not Janice. However, she got it."
Officials urge anyone paying at the pump to use credit and not debit.
They also ask anyone to look at your bank account periodically because many criminals will steal $20-30 monthly from a many people to take large amounts of money at once unnoticed.
"If they get your pin number for your bank account, they can clean your bank account out, and it could cause you a great deal of problems. Ultimately, we the consumer pay for fraud," Strain said.
Law enforcement are working with gas companies and convenient stores to update the gas terminals with more restrictive key access and alarms, Strain said.