With record travel predicted for this July Fourth holiday, travelers are already preparing for higher gas prices at the pump. But the Secret Service has a warning for road-tripping revelers on the extra-long Independence Day weekend: Watch out for credit card skimmers when you’re fueling up at gas stations.
Credit card skimmers are small, electronic devices that criminals can install inside the card reader at a gas pump and are undetectable to consumers. When people swipe their cards to make a payment, the skimmer copies the card’s data. Some skimmers must be physically retrieved by the criminals to capture consumers’ payment data, but newer types use Bluetooth technology to send out the information to crooks.
Card skimmers have become such a rampant issue that federal agents are warning holiday travelers to take precautions. Over the weekend, Secret Service agents went on a skimmer hunt, looking in over 80 locations in 21 states. They found an alarming 59 skimmers, according to ABC News. The Secret Service estimates that millions of dollars are stolen from consumers hit by skimmers every year.
Summer gas prices are high enough this year without having to deal with credit card fraud. One way to avoid skimmers is to pay inside the gas station. And while that might sound antiquated, there’s an even better way keep your credit card data safe: pay cash.