DES MOINES, Iowa — It’s a long holiday weekend for many Iowans and for some that involves filling up the tank before heading out of town.
Pay at the pump is a convenient feature at gas stations, but it comes with some risk.
Last month, Polk County deputies found credit card skimming devices at a few gas stations around the metro and now banking experts say the long weekend is a chance for thieves to target consumers.
Experts say skimmers are normally placed on card readers on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, making it hard for customers to report suspicious activity to the bank.
Shazam Vice President of public relations, Patrick Dix, says holiday travelers should be extra cautious when making transactions at unfamiliar gas stations and ATMs.
“I think we are aware that it can happen and it’s almost that we’ve gone the other way that we are desensitized to it because we hear it so much,” Dix says.
Before swiping your card, it’s recommended consumers should jiggle the card holder to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with. If something doesn’t seem right with the card reader or you are unsure if it has been tampered with, Dix recommends paying inside. Covering the key pad while entering the pin number will also make it harder for thieves to compromise your information.
“Some of these fraudsters have gotten very high tech, very complicated and very hard to spot,” says Dix.
Traveler, Jonie Tonkinson says she monitors her bank account regularly in fear of the thieves compromising her data.
“With all the traffic and all these people on the roads right now you’ve gotta watch out for this stuff because the fraudsters are gonna be out there, maximizing their opportunity,” she says.
Transaction alert apps are available for cell phones to notify customers when a purchase has been made.