HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — Hoover police are warning everyone to take extra precautions at the pumps.

They say if a credit card reader on a gas pump has been tampered with, chances are you won’t be able to tell. The device is small and attached to the ribbon of the card reader. Thieves put the skimming device inside the card reader at gas pumps.

“A lot of them are able to get their hands on these keys that open up the cabinets now. How? There could be a cozen ways but they are able to get them to make copies and get into the cabinets undetected,” Officer Brian Hale with the Hoover Police Department said.

The device stores credit card information every time a card is swiped.

“I mean that little magnetic strip has everythin on the back of that thing. It’s got your name, address, account number, account balance,” Officer Hale said.

Officer Hale says the best way to protect yourself is to pay inside or pay cash. If you have to pay at the pump, he says use a pump closer to the entrance of the store.

“Thieves have longer times to play around with pumps that are further away from the entrance,” Hale said.

Officer Hale says it is also extremely important to keep track of your credit and debit card activity so if someone does steal your information you’ll know it right away.