Fraud is the last thing on your mind during a holiday weekend.
But, card skimmers are still at work even if you’re not. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office arrested 27-year-old Rene Rodriguez-Niebla last week for having multiple counterfeit credit cards and possessing a skimming device.
As of April 2018, more than 280 skimmers were found at gas pumps throughout Florida. In 2017, 654 were found — most of them in Fort Lauderdale or Miami.
So how can you stay safe?
Well, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has some ideas:
- Pay in cash inside the store to ensure credit card information stays safe.
- Check to make sure the gas pump dispenser cabinet is closed and has not been tampered with.
- Use a gas pump closer to the front of the store. Thieves often place skimmers at the gas pumps farther away from the store.
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards have better fraud protection, and the money is not deducted immediately from an account.
- If using a debit card at the pump, choose to run it as a credit card instead of putting a PIN number in. That way, the PIN number is safe.
- Monitor bank accounts regularly to spot any unauthorized charges.
- Consumers who suspect their credit card number has been compromised should report it immediately to authorities and their credit card company.
The Federal Trade Commission suggests if you do use a debit card at the pump, run it as a credit card instead of entering a PIN.