- Associated Press - Friday, January 29, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Louisiana’s Department of Agriculture says a task force of federal and state authorities has found 23 credit card skimming devices on gasoline pumps around the state since June of last year. And clerks at retail outlets have alerted authorities to two others.

Thieves place the skimming devices on pumps and then use the information to make fraudulent charges.

Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says in a news release that new versions of the devices are becoming more difficult to detect.

The department’s tips to avoid becoming a victim include using credit cards rather than debit cards when possible at gas pumps. Also, motorists are advised to use pumps easily seen by gas station employees - where thieves are less likely to try to install the devices.

The task force includes members of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Weights and Measures division, the United States Secret Service and local sheriff’s offices

Parishes where skimming devices have been found include: Acadia, Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Iberia, Jackson, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, St Martin, St. Mary, Tangipahoa and Vermilion.

Strain’s office said that once skimming devices are discovered, they are analyzed and all financial institutions affected are contacted by the U.S. Secret Service.

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