NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A warning from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture: The agency is seeing an increase in the number of skimmers at gas pumps across the state including in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Tammany and Washington Parishes.
Gas station owner Chris Rittiner said he is proactive when it comes to keeping his customers' personal information safe. On each shift, attendants check for skimming devices, and in addition to that, you'll find pumps at his Harahan business under lock and key with safety tape in place.
"That crosses all the opening points, so that if that point is broken, the metallic tape that has a serial number all of sudden just reads void so we know that opening has been breached," said Rittiner, a Danny and Clyde's owner.
Those precautions may be more important than ever, because the state says just in the past month, 15 skimming devices were found across the state. And, according to the United States Secret Service, the devices contained about 4,000 credit and debit card numbers.
"Of these numbers, there will have been fraudulent usages of these cards. We know that, and again, the Secret Service will be contacting the banks to give them these numbers and the banks will be contacting persons involved," said Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain.
To protect your pin number, the state says you shouldn't use the debit function on your card. Instead, use credit. Also, use a pump that is easily seen by a gas station attendant. Those that are less visible are targeted by criminals. And check the card reader for signs of forced entry, like broken security tape or bent panels.
In the meantime, you're asked to monitor your credit and debit card statements weekly - if not daily - for unauthorized purchases. If you recognize any, report them to your bank.