ACADIA PARISH, La. (KLFY) — Reports of people falling victim to criminal activity by credit card skimmers are becoming more common.

K.P. Gibson with the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office says numerous law enforcement agencies are investigating the use of card skimmers.

Gibson said skimmers are devices that look just like the credit card machine itself at the point of sale.

“What it does, it obtains the number of the credit card when you swipe the card or insert the card,” said Gibson.

Card skimming theft can effect anyone who uses their credit or debit cards at ATMS, gas stations, restaurants or retail stores. The information collected by skimmers will often lead to fraudulent purchases.

Card skimmer

Before using your card on any card reader, users should check for alignment issues between the card reader and the panel underneath it. Physical inspections of card readers and keypads can often reveal if a fraudulent device is present.

Difference between a normal card reader and a card reader with a skimmer placed on top

When making purchases at a gas station, police advise people to use a credit card instead of a debit card to take advantage of credit cards zero liability protection. If using a debit card, run it as a credit card to keep your PIN safe incase a skimmer is present.

“People who go to the point of sale and decide to use a credit card or a debit card, just remember that you have more protection with a credit card than you do with a debit card,” Gibson said. “So maybe consider that aspect of protecting yourself.”

Law enforcement say that everyone should regularly monitor their card activity through banking statements or accessing your account online.

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