SAINT PAUL – Do you use a credit or debit card to pay at the pump? If so, State Representative Tim Miller (R-Prinsburg) said you should use caution.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce is warning the public to be on the lookout for credit card skimmers at gas pumps, which can be used to commit identity theft and fraud.
"The commerce department has responded to cases of credit card theft because of these skimmers," Miller said. "At the very least, drivers should look carefully at the pump's credit card reader before they swipe."
Credit card skimmers are small electronic devices that can be attached to credit card readers or hidden inside gas pumps to collect and transmit a customer’s credit and debit card data to criminals, who sell or use the information to commit identity theft. To protect yourself, the commerce department offers the following suggestions:
• Inspect the card reader and pump for any signs of forced entry, including broken security seals, tool marks, loose materials, scratches where someone may have tampered with the pump or anything else that is suspicious.
• Pay with cash or a card inside. Or select credit instead of debit on the pump. If you do use a debit card, never type in your PIN at the pump. Using your credit card will limit your liability to $50, while stolen debit card information can give the thief direct access to the actual money in your bank account.
• Check your bank accounts and credit card statements regularly and immediately report irregularities to your financial institution or credit/debit card company. There is a limited time period for you report fraud without any liability on your part.
• If you notice any irregularities (especially someone who is not a station employee or an inspector who is opening up a pump), alert the station attendant or call the Minnesota Department of Commerce Weight & Measures Consumer Services Center at 800-657-3602.