Last August, a gas station compliance officer with the Virginia Weights and Measures Office conducted a routine check on a pump station in Vienna, Va. He found a skimming device and immediately reported it to the police. Unfortunately, not all gas stations catch skimmers right away. Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself from skimming.

Don’t Pay with Your Debit Card

Since credit cards have been around since the 1970’s, hackers have created countless ways to steal credit card numbers. In contrast, newer technology, like Apple Pay, is more secure. Apple Pay requires the owner’s fingerprint in order to complete a transaction and any payment that uses more than one verification source is safer than swiping a credit card.

Credit cards are more secure than debit cards and have the lowest personal liability if the owner’s identity is stolen. It is even safer to use low limit or prepaid credit cards since even if these numbers are stolen, the damage would not be outrageous.

Cash is Always Best

Using cash is the safest way to prevent a breach. Some retailers even offer a discount for paying in cash, which may make up for the loss of the advantages that come with credit card points. If a credit card must be used, just be sure to check account balances on a regular basis.

Whether through hacking or theft, credit card crime is expected to increase this holiday season. As always, be aware of suspicious behavior and report to your bank immediately if your credit card number is stolen.

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