How to protect yourself from credit card skimmers at the gas pump

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DENVER -- Credit card skimmers are the danger at the gas station we've all heard about.

However, you probably haven't heard about all the things you should look for to protect yourself.

Scott Simmons is with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. He investigates reports of credit card skimmers.

He says smart drivers should first examine the pump, checking for security tape across the dispenser door. If it's broken, a skimmer may be hidden inside.

However, not all gas stations use that tape. He says the best thing many gas stations are doing to protect customers is changing how they lock down their pumps, using customized barrel keys.

Believe it or not, up until two years ago, most all gas stations used the same master key that could easily be copied and mass produced.

"It was a loophole in the system," said Simmons.

If a thief had one, he or she could get into just about every pump in the state. That's starting to change.

"I think it's making a big difference. Some of the newer dispensers even have alarm systems in them. If someone was to break into the dispenser without the proper codes and alarm will go off and it will power the dispenser down. It will shut it down," said Simmons.

You're also safer filling up at gas stations that use chip readers.

If there is a screen telling you when to remove your credit card, the pump likely has a chip reader.

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