KYLE, Texas (KXAN) – Texans lose millions each year due to credit card skimmers. The Kyle Police Department said this problem is citywide.

Within the first three months of the year, only 15 skimmers were recovered by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations. That brings the total number to 135 skimmers recovered since January 2022.

It’s been so hard to detect them that the Texas Financial Crimes Intelligence Center opened last year to try and combat this growing problem.

‘I was just mad’

This issue hits close to home for Jodi Gonzalez in Kyle.

“All total it was probably $700 or more that was used on my accounts fraudulently,” Gonzalez said.

She said three different cards had their information stolen.

“It was panic, and you just really had anxiety,” Gonzalez said. “This last time when it happened, I was just mad.”

She said her banks notified her of the fraudulent charges. Each time it happened after filling up at Valero on the corner of FM 2770 and FM 150 in Kyle.

“Using it to buy $400 worth of I don’t know what in Dallas,” she said. “My Visa card, they contacted me and said, ‘Did you buy all this gas in San Antonio?’ And I said, ‘No, I did not.’ “

The station’s management told KXAN their corporate office would be reaching out, but we have not heard back yet.

‘In numerous locations’

The Kyle Police Department said it can’t speak about specific gas stations, but said in general skimming is widespread across the city.

“In numerous locations. Some right along 35 some, you know, a little bit off of 35,” said Kyle Assistant Police Chief Pedro Hernandez.

Asst. Chief Hernandez said they regularly monitor gas stations and confiscate any skimmers they find. But he said it can be hard to track down who put them there.

“Those people could be anywhere in the state, anywhere in the world where that data is being transmitted to or updated to,” Hernandez said.

Still, both police and Gonzalez encouraged people to report when their information is stolen in the hopes one day someone will be held accountable.

“It hurts people. It hurts families. It’s not a victimless crime,” Gonzalez said.

Ways to protect yourself

Both Gonzalez and Hernandez said it’s important to stay vigilant as you’re paying for gas.

Credit card skimming tips:

  • Check the credit card machine
  • Tap to pay if that’s an option
  • Pay inside if you think the machine looks tampered with
  • Regularly check your bank statements
  • Sign up for fraud alerts from your bank

“Most of those gas pumps, they have a door that’s usually secured by key and a lot of them have a tamper seal tape on there,” said Hernandez. “You see that the seal has been disturbed, if it shows that has been pulled that’s a good indication that somebody you know, without authorization went into that machine.”