Louisiana recently has been seeing an increase in skimming devices at gas pumps, according to Mike Strain, commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF).
“Our inspectors seem to be finding one or two skimmers on a weekly basis,” he said. “Consumers are also alerting our office more often which helps us track down these devices.”
In March alone, the LDAF removed at least 15 skimming devices containing about 4,000 credit and debit-card numbers from gas pumps in Avoyelles, Calcasieu, Jefferson, Lafayette, Orleans, Rapides, St. Landry, St. Tammany and Washington parishes.
The LDAF is working with the U.S. Secret Service as well as state and local law enforcement to investigate the devices.
“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,” said Strain. “Ask yourself: Is it someone purchasing gasoline or someone manipulating the cabinet on the pump?”
The skimming devices have evolved from crude, easily recognizable devices with a “homemade look” to smaller pieces of equipment that have Bluetooth capability, allowing them to transmit financial data instead of requiring criminals to physically remove them to retrieve the data.