There has been a resurgence of identity theft through the use of skimmers at gas stations in recent days. Skimmers are small electronic devices that are easily installed by an identity thief on a self service gas pump where the customer inserts his or her credit card. The skimmer steals all of the information from the credit card which then permits the identity thief to access that information to utilize the victim’s credit card account. Each skimmer can hold information on as many as 2,400 credit cards. Gasoline companies are becoming more aware of the problem and are installing replacement gas pumps with better security to prevent the installment of skimmers so it is thought that many identity thieves are installing the skimmers on the older gas pumps while they can.
Always look for signs of tampering on any machine through which you swipe your credit card. If the credit card mechanism appears loose or in any other way tampered, don’t use it. Also, make sure you keep track of all your credit card bills and report any fraudulent charges immediately. Customers may not be charged for any unauthorized charges that are more than fifty dollars. However, debit card customers risk having the bank account tied to their card entirely emptied if they do not report a theft promptly. For this reason, it is best to restrict the use of debit cards to use at ATM machines.