They're called skimmers and they can steal all your important information in a matter of a few seconds. Lately, those skimmers have been cropping up at area gas pumps.The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) says there has been an increased number of credit card skimmers in 9 Louisiana Parishes including spots right here in Calcasieu.

According to LDAF Commissioner, Mike Strain, if you travel to Avoyelles, Jefferson, Lafayette, Orleans, Rapids, St. Landry, St. Tammany, and Washington parishes you could also come in contact with one of those devices on a gas pump. Recently, two of the skimmer devices were found on pumps in Vinton.

All told, the Department of Weights and Measures has found 15 skimming devices in the last month and just those 15 devices contained information on 4,000 credit and debit cards. Once the skimming devices are analyzed, all financial institutions affected are contacted by the Secret Service.

Now, there are a few steps you can take to try and avoid being a victim of these skimming devices:

1. When you can, use your card as a credit card instead of a debit card. That's one way to keep your pin number protected.

2. Keep a close eye on your bank statement for unauthorized charges or unusual purchases.

3. Try and use a pump near the teller or cashier's station. It harder to install these devices if the pump is in a well watched area

4. Look for signs of tampering on the pump card reader itself. You might see bent panels or even some broken security tape on the pump.