Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles is warning Kentuckians to beware at the gas pump as criminals try to steal sensitive credit card information.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) has discovered 33 skimmers since inspections of gas pumps began under Quarles in 2016. Ten credit card skimmers in September alone were found at pumps in central Kentucky.

Just more than half of the total over the last three years have been discovered this year, KDA reports.

KDA personnel once a year test each pump to ensure that the amount of fuel dispensed matches the amount shown on the pump, that each pump is in proper working order and that there are no devices placed by criminals where credit or debit cards are swiped in order to illegally obtain banking information.

Kentuckians can help protect themselves at the gas pump by looking for signs of tampering, including:

• Scratches or other damage around pump locks or doors;

• Components that look different from the rest of the device or from other pumps;

• A loose card reader; and

• Security tape that is broken or does not adhere to the pump.

Authorities suggest filling up your vehicle at a pump as close to the attendant station as possible - thieves often place skimmers in pumps out of sight of the attendant.

Motorists may avoid the risk by paying in cash.