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Credit card ‘skimmers’ found at Louisiana gas stations

In this 2015 photo, a New York City Police detective holds a credit card skimmer that was used by a street gang to copy metadata from legitimate credit cards for use in the manufacture of counterfeit cards and possibly identity theft.
In this 2015 photo, a New York City Police detective holds a credit card skimmer that was used by a street gang to copy metadata from legitimate credit cards for use in the manufacture of counterfeit cards and possibly identity theft. AP File

Fifteen credit card “skimming” devices have been found on gasoline pumps in different parts of Louisiana in the past month, state Secretary of Agriculture Mike Strain said Tuesday.

The devices are used by thieves to steal credit card information from motorists.

Strain said the devices are becoming harder to detect once thieves manage to install them at the pumps. He said some have Bluetooth capability, which means the thieves can retrieve the data without having to return to the pumps.

“Our inspectors continue to look for anything suspect and we remind convenience store employees to stay alert and try to monitor what is actually taking place at a gas pump,” Strain said in a Tuesday news release. “Ask yourself, is it someone purchasing gasoline or someone manipulating the cabinet on the pump?”

The 15 devices recently found contained about 4,000 credit and debit card numbers, according to the release. They were found in Avoyelles, Calcasieu, Jefferson, Lafayette, Orleans, Rapides, St. Landry, St. Tammany and Washington parishes.

Strain is encouraging motorists who pay at the pump to closely monitor their credit and debit card charges. He also says drivers paying for gasoline at the pump should use credit cards rather than debit cards, which have pin numbers that could be compromised.

Drivers also are encouraged to use pumps that can be easily seen by gas station employees, and to check the area around the card reader for signs of forced entry.

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