BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The holiday weekend is underway, and that means more people are hitting the roads. It also means scammers are working overtime to target people, especially at the gas pump.
Meghan McCorkell with more on what these scammers are doing.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Maryland: Over 1,500 Test Positive In Last 24 Hours
When you use your debit or credit card at the gas pump, you may not realize just who is getting that information.
It’s the unofficial end of summer, and more people are hitting the roads for a last chance to sit on the beach.
“Here in Maryland, we’re looking at approximately 733,000 Marylanders who will be traveling 50 miles or more over the holiday,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic.
But scammers could put the brakes on your holiday plans.
“Technology is crazy. They can get anything from you, information for anything,” said Kyle Patrick, driver.
Their target–people at the pump.
Across the country, credit card skimmers are popping up. They fit right over the card slot in a gas pump.
“It’ll scan the card as you shove your card in and pull it back out again. It’s really quite quick,” said Dr. Lisa Yeo, Loyola University Maryland.READ MORE: State's Attorney Won't Prosecute Tesla Driver Charged With 'Hitting' Crossing Guard In Glen Burnie
Just like that, your information is gone.
Cyber security expert Dr. Lisa Yeo says being able to use credit cards that have security chips in them could prevent scams like this.
While most major retailers have the equipment to read the more secure chip-based cards, it’s not required of gas stations until 2017. That makes them easy targets.
Some drivers are already taking precautions.
“I never actually use my card. I always go inside to the cashier and actually pay that way,” said Candace Robinson, driver.
Other ways to protect yourself?
“Definitely use your credit card, not your debit card,” said Yeo. “Take a look at those machines. Don’t be afraid to test to see if there’s anything that just falls off really easily when you jiggle it.”
Simple steps that could leave you smooth sailing this holiday.
The skimmer devices have been found at gas stations across the country.MORE NEWS: Six Shot, Two Killed Overnight In Baltimore
Gas stations are now trying to use heavy duty padlocks and software to try and combat skimmers.