We’re well into spring and summer is just around the corner. And summer means road trips. Road trips mean more time at the gas pump.
But high gas prices are predicted nationwide this summer. Prices are expected to go as high as nearly $5 per gallon in some areas.
Identity thieves use a technique called skimming at gas pumps, which involves placing a device over the card reader which looks like part of the pump. When you insert your card, the skimmer reads the information on your card, and records it so the thief can later retrieve the skimmer and download the information. He can then use your information to spend to his heart’s content.
Smarter thieves don’t even have to come back to pick up the device. Smarter thieves are using wireless laptops, smartphones or Bluetooth to download the information from nearby – they don’t even have to get out of their cars.
The sad thing is that most people don’t know they’ve been victimized by these thieves until they get their bills and see the fraudulent charges. All too often, by this time the thief has made off with a lot of money.
If you are concerned about falling victim to skimming at gas pumps, the best way to avoid it is to simply pay inside. You can use your credit or debit card, and you can watch the clerk scan your card, or scan it yourself.
If you continue to pay at the pump, use your credit card, or use your debit card but choose the credit option, so you don’t have to input your PIN. Check your bank or credit card statements often to be sure nothing is amiss.