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Keeping your credit card information secure is a hot topic, especially during the busy holiday travel season. As travelers take to the roads to get to their destinations, credit card skimmers are increasingly becoming a problem, frequently encountered at gas station pumps.

But, if you have an Android phone, you now have an easier way to detect if the gas pump you’re about to insert your credit card into has a skimmer implanted in it. The app, called Skimmer Scanner, from SparkX, works by detecting if there are certain Bluetooth transmissions located close to your phone. It’s those select Bluetooth transmissions that are used to transmit your credit card information from the scanner to the crooks.

The Skimmer Scanner app is free to download from Google Play. Once you’ve downloaded it, open it the next time you go to refill your tank. According to the app’s developers, it works to broadcast over Bluetooth as HC-05 with a password of 1234. If you’re at a pump, open the app, scan your surroundings (5-15 feet) and see if HC-05 is listed as an available connection. To confirm there’s a skimmer, the app will send the character ‘P’ over a terminal. If it gets an ‘M’ in response, the developers say that the reader has likely been bugged and you should inform your local authorities.

Image by Google Play.
Image by Google Play.

According to Denver’s KDVR, the app has been downloaded more than 90,000 times in the three weeks since it’s been available. Colorado-based SparkX says it wants to offer the app on iPhones soon.

With credit card skimmers now cheaper and easier to install than ever, the Skimmer Scanner app may be a useful addition to your Android phone. The TPG team hasn’t tested it yet, but staff members who own Android phones will use it on the road over the holiday season and will report back.

Featured image by Michael Godek / Getty Images.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

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  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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