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Beware: Thieves are getting better at stealing your credit card information at the pump

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By KIMBERLY KOLLINER, KMPH

FRESNO, Calif. (CIRCA via KMPH) — Police in Fresno are looking for more credit card skimmers after finding four at gas stations in January.

Police say scammers are opening the key pads at gas pumps and installing their own software that attaches to the card reader and the pin pad to capture all of your debit or credit card details.

Police say without individually checking each card reader, there's no sure way to tell what's inside them until someone files a complaint.

Adriana, who did not want to give her last name, had her credit card skimmed at the pump.

“I always pay at the store," she said. "I never pay at the pump — ever. Don’t pay at the pump.”

Adriana had all of her savings, $1,200, wiped out.

“They they took everything; we ... got the phone call from the bank after I tried to use my debit card at that moment," she said. "I think the first transaction was $87 at McDonald's ... and another one for hair products — $400.

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The best precaution you an take at the pump is to pay with cash inside the store.

Chan Phommavongsay lost $3,800, so now she's done with cards at the pump.

"(If) I need to put in $20, I carry $20,” Phommavongsay said.

Nationwide, 15 percent of Americans said they got skimmed at the gas pump within the past 30 days, according to a study by CompareCards.com. So how can you try to spot these card skimmers?

One, you can pay attention to the warnings at the pump that say to look for lose machinery that could have been tampered with. Or two, check for a seal around the key pad.

"With the front end of the gas pump, there's normally some kind of security tape that's taped on to the door itself," said Marty Lucero, a Fresno police detective.

But that test is not even close to bring foolproof, because the seal in some cases is easily peeled on and off.

And so police say the best rule of thumb is to err on the side of caution by either going inside the store to swipe your card or, better yet, pay in cash.

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