‘Fraudsters go where the money is’ Folks look for best prices on gas, experts urge you to be cautious

Law enforcement officials now want you to be on the lookout for anything suspicious at the...
Law enforcement officials now want you to be on the lookout for anything suspicious at the pumps, as you search for the best prices to fill up your tank.(Pointe Coupee Sheriff's Office)
Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 5:42 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2022 at 6:20 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - As if we didn’t already have to deal with high gas prices, law enforcement officials now want you to be on the lookout for anything suspicious at the pumps, as you search for the best prices to fill up your tank.

As some thieves could be up to their old tricks, trying to take even more money away from you.

Pictures from the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office show skimmers that were found at a gas station in Lettsworth about two weeks ago.

“These people that do these types of crimes sit there, and always monitor, how they can beat the system,” said Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Rene’ Thibodeaux.

Thibodeaux tells WAFB, the store owner has since put in a new system to hopefully prevent this from happening again.

“So we all just have to be on our best, and be on the lookout,” he said.

Everyone is looking around for the best prices on gas these days, but officials are urging you to be cautious if paying with a card.

“Definitely look for any evidence that the pump or the payment terminal has been tampered with,” said Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst at Bankrate.

Rossman says gas stations are usually an easy target for thieves looking to steal your card information.

“I think it’s a crime of opportunity. And I think gas stations represent low hanging fruit. The fraudsters go where the money is. Gas stations are the most likely industry to still be using the antiquated magnetic stripe readers, and those are a lot less secure than the chip card readers,” he said.

He urges everyone to consider paying for gas in cash, or use a credit card instead of a debit card.

“Because if a credit card gets hacked, it’s just a line of credit, it’s the banks money up until you pay them back. A debit card is real money coming out of your checking account. And even though you should get it back if you report that fraud promptly, you’re going to be missing that money probably for a couple of weeks,” he said.

If you ever notice anything suspicious at the pump, go inside the gas station and talk to an employee, and then call the police.

Experts also urge you to check your bank account regularly, for any unusual activity.

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