Police warn criminals can steal your identity at the gas pumps - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Police warn criminals can steal your identity at the gas pumps

ASHBURN, GA (WALB) -

Criminals will go to great lengths to steal your identity, and that's why police say it's important to protect your personal information, even at the gas pumps.

That's where thieves are using what's called “credit card skimmers" to read your information.

Juanita Ward is proactive about making sure her personal information doesn't get stolen.

" I check my statements every month with the receipts and once everything is checked off, I shred the receipts," says Juanita Ward.

Ashburn police recently recovered some skimmers during a bust and even found gift cards with more than a dozen people's personal info on them.

Thieves put the skimmers inside gas pumps, or even ATMS.

"So when you use your debit or credit card at an ATM or pump, they will steal that information off your card when you use it there," says investigator Jacob Teter, for the Ashburn police Department.

One way you can avoid that investigators say is pay inside.

"At least that lowers the possibilities of your credit card number getting stolen in that manner," says Teter.

Ward says she tries to pay for things in cash when possible.

"When I got to a restaurant or anything I pay cash instead of using a credit card," says Ward.

And that's not all. Ward puts her cards inside foil because now criminals have ways of scanning your cards for information.

"Its a little compartment with aluminum foil and I keep all my cards in there," she says.

Investigator Jacob Teter advises folks to pull your credit report once a year.

"Be sure that there has been no credit card or purchases under your name, and thats how you can do that. If you see that you need to contact your local authorities, and the credit bureau."

In the meantime Ward tries to keep it simple.

"I guess I'm old fashioned, I write checks," says Ward.

Also shred all your documents because police say criminals are known to dig through your trash.

Police say have important documents and credit cards sent to a PO box, and check your mail often.

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