It’s that time of year again when summer travelers prepare to hit the roads.
However, before filling up at the pump this season, state officials are warning travelers to be on the lookout for credit card skimmers.
It’s a small device called a skimmer, and only takes seconds to be inserted into a gas pump, ready to rob you blind all while you think, you’re just paying for gas.
“In the last 3 weeks we’ve found about 7 credit card skimmers,” says Jennifer Holton with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Holton says in the past two years, the Department has found more than 80 skimmers at gas stations around the state.
The most recent, have been popping up at gas stations in both the Howell and Stockbridge areas.
“You cannot see a skimmer from the outside, so there really is no way for a consumer as they pull up to a pump to know it’s there,” says Holton.
Skimmers are designed to blend in with existing equipment, and all it takes is the swipe of a card, for crooks to get away with your cash.
Which is why Holton says, it’s critical to pay attention to a few key details when filling up.
“Number one, if there’s security tape on a pump and it looks like it’s been broken or tampered with in some way, find a different pump and definitely let attendant inside know,” says Holton.
That tape, can be your first clue that something’s wrong.
Holton also says, to choose your pump wisely. As criminals tend to place skimmers further away from attendants.
“What we do typically find is the outside pumps are most vulnerable,” says Holton.
And most importantly, she says to regularly check your credit card and banking statements.
“If they see a false charge, something that doesn’t look right, they should definitely contact their banking institution,” says Holton.
They may be simple things to look for, but Holton says, by remembering to check before you charge, will help keep your plastic safe at the pump.