A credit card skimming device was recently discovered in eastern Louisiana.

Authorities tested almost 5000 devices to find skimming devices. The skimmer was found in St. Tammany Parish. “Gas pump skimming investigations remain a priority for the U.S. Secret Service,” said Special Agent in Charge Leslie Pichon from the New Orleans Field Office. “This sweep highlights the outstanding efforts and partnerships between the LDAF, local law enforcement and the Secret Service’s Financial Crimes Task Forces, to disrupt organized criminal groups who defraud financial institutions and innocent citizens.”

In the past two years, authorities have confiscated 48 skimming devices throughout the state. “We remind convenience store employees to stay alert and try to monitor what is actually taking place at a gas pump,” said Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain. “If you see someone compromising the cabinet on the pump, please call authorities to check that pump. As for consumers who do not pay with cash, be vigilant in monitoring credit card statements for unauthorized purchases.”

Some tips to protect your personal information:

●       Whenever possible, do not use the debit card function at the gas pump. Use it as a credit card in order to protect your pin number.

●       Monitor your debit/credit card activity online and contact your bank to report unrecognized charges.

●       Whenever using a credit card, try to use a pump that is easily seen by gas station employees. Pumps that are less visible are commonly targeted because crooks can easily install a skimmer in a short period of time.

●       Check the pump card reader for signs of forced entry like bent panels or broken security tape.