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State police offer advice after falling victim to credit card skimmer

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) - More than $1,000 in fraudulent charges were racked up on fuel cards used by Indiana State Police and investigators believe the purchases were likely made possible by a skimming device that had been placed on a gas pump.

According to a news release issued Tuesday, all of the affected cards had been used at a central Indiana gas station.

Credit card skimmers can be placed on ATMs, gas pumps and other places where credit cards are swiped. The skimmer collects the card’s information which can then be used to make unauthorized purchases.

While the investigation by Indiana State Police is ongoing, the agency offered the following advice to consumers:

  • Use the pump closest to the building or in clear view of the cashier. When placing skimming devices criminals try not to be seen and will often use pumps where employees have obstructed views
  • Look for wires hanging out of access panels, and damaged or broken locks on the gas pump.
  • Look at other gas pumps to be sure the credit card readers all look the same and use your fingers to physically pull on it.
  • Look for tamper-resistant seals on access panels
  • Avoid entering your PIN number at a gas pump, or if you must, be sure to shield it with your other hand.
  • If anything looks suspicious about the pump, report it to an employee and go to another location. Really, because if gas stations start losing business because of skimmers, they may start looking for those devices themselves! Also, call the police and report it to them.
  • Diligently check your credit card statement each month for fraudulent charges. Criminals often use stolen credit card numbers to make small purchases ensuring it will work before racking up large amounts of money.

If you think you may have inadvertently swiped a card in a skimmer, contact your credit card issuer immediately.