It's one of the most common ways to get ripped off, but also easy to avoid if you know what to look for. Next time you're gassing up your vehicle in Missouri, here are some signs you can look for that indicate a card skimmer is gonna try to rip you off.

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There are so many examples of Missourians getting ripped off at gas pumps, it's hard to know where to start. Earlier this year, Cape Girardeau police warned citizens of an increased number of card skimmers found on pumps there as reported by KFVS 12. A few years ago, KSDK in St. Louis reported that there are even new skimmers that are wired directly into the pump by thieves. Devious.

Let's face it. Most of us are trying to get gas in our vehicles quickly and get on with our day. Here are some quick and easy things you can look for that might give you a heads up that a thief is at your pump.

Capital One mentions checking the security seal. I'll take that a step further. Actually read the seal and make sure it appears legit and not something someone has just created.

They also recommend looking at the card reader on your pump and making sure it looks identical to readers on other pumps at the station you're at. Something different? Probably means you need to contact an employee.

Security National Bank says to run your card as a credit card and not debit. That avoids a hidden camera recording your PIN number which is a key for thieves to replicate your card and use it.

I always cover the PIN pad now whenever I enter my number no matter what kind of store I'm at - gas station or otherwise. Assume that someone is watching even if they aren't.

Even if the pump looks intact, look closely at the space where you slide your card and make sure there is no separate card shimming material. It's a relatively new technique where thieves will try and get a copy of your magnetic strip.

Sadly there's no way to be 100% sure you're safe at a gas pump. It's always a good idea to check your bank/credit card accounts for transactions frequently to make sure there are no phantom charges that would indicate a thief has your information. Contesting fraudulent charges quickly can help you avoid bigger identity theft problems later.

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