Using your cellphone to detect Bluetooth card skimmers at gas pumps

Posted at 10:52 AM, Aug 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-11 16:39:00-04

Here's a suggestion that might offer you protection from losing money to credit card skimmers at gas pumps.

It comes from the Texas Department of Agriculture which posted a  "How To Avoid Getting Skimmed" video.

One of the more interesting tips is using your cellphone to detect a Bluetooth signal since most skimmers use Bluetooth technology.

Go to your phone's settings, hit Bluetooth. If you see a long string of numbers and letters trying to connect it could be a sign a skimmer is on the pump, according to the agriculture department.

The Florida Department of Agriculture also offers this advice:

Pay in cash inside the store to ensure credit card information stays safe.

Check to make sure the gas pump dispenser cabinet is closed and has not been tampered with. Many stations are now putting a piece of security tape over the cabinet to ensure it has not been opened by unauthorized individuals.

Use a gas pump closer to the front of the store. Thieves often place skimmer at the gas pumps farther away from the store so they are not noticed as quickly.

Use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards have better fraud protection, and the money is not deducted immediately from an account.

If using a debit card at the pump, choose to run it as a credit card instead of putting a PIN number in. That way, the PIN number is safe.

Monitor bank accounts regularly to spot any unauthorized charges.

Consumers who suspect their credit card number has been compromised should report it immediately to authorities and their credit card company.

And, don't forget to get a printed receipt.