Beware of skimmers at gas pump, money machines

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Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America.  Between 8 and 12 million people could be victims in a single year.  Thieves are proving they'll go to extraordinary measures to steal from you.

"Went to the hotel and were surprised by what we found," said US Postal Inspector, Dan Taylor.

Postal Inspectors got a tip to search a hotel room after a suspect was arrested with several stolen credit cards.

A camera was pointing at a gas station where the suspect in custody had placed a skimming device on a pump.

"He recorded 40 hours' worth of transactions and he was also logging PIN Numbers as he was watching his victims," explained Taylor.

The suspect had all the magnetic strip information on each credit card along with the numbers.  It was the perfect storm for ID theft.

"Many times what these ID thieves are after is quick cash. With counterfeit credit cards we see a lot of cash advances basically bleed the card for every bit it is worth," said Taylor.

Gas pumps are often a target but there are some things you can do to protect yourself.

"If you see something on there that doesn't look right – first of all – don't use it," warned Taylor.

Also, make sure you report it right away.

"Many times the scammers are keeping close surveillance on their skimming device. If law enforcement can be notified maybe we can catch them in the act," Taylor added.

Postal Inspectors say it is so important to protect your credit and banking information.

"This guy took extraordinary measures to get the information, it just shows the determination some criminals have and they will do anything to steal your money," said Taylor.

The suspect in this particular case was convicted on ID theft charges and is currently in prison.

For more ways to avoid card skimming at gas pumps, ATMs and other money machines from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, click here.

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