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Protecting yourself from card skimmers at the pump

A Tyler woman is urging others to check their bank accounts after she went to a local gas pump and found fraudulent activity on her statement.

TYLER, Texas — A Tyler woman is urging others to check their bank accounts after she went to a local gas pump and within minutes she noticed two transactions from San Francisco totaling $100 dollars were gone from her account.

She believes she was targeted by card skimmers. Tyler police are aware of the situation and the woman, Kenzi Anderson is in the process of working with police to file a report.

"If we hadn't had had but $100 in our account, we'd be financially messed up right now. We'd have to wait for it to be credited back. They don't look at that and they don't even care, these people do this on the regular and they don't care till their card declines and they move on to the next person," Anderson said.

Anderson was running errands on Tuesday and after she pumped her gas she opened up her banking app to check her account. That's when she noticed two transactions totaling $100 gone.

While there has not been a confirmed sighting of a card skimmer recently in Tyler, this has been a problem in the past.

Credit card skimmers are devices placed in or on gas pump cabinets to steal credit card information from customers when they purchase fuel. 

After Tyler police arrested three people in connection to card skimming in 2018, they started providing training for local gas stations, grocery stores, and merchants to help them spot skimmers.

Tila Mange works with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, they regulate all of the gas pumps in the state and work to ensure card skimmers are caught. She said Tyler Police has led the way when reporting and catching skimmers. 

So what are some ways to make sure you can prevent becoming a victim of a card skimmer?

  • 1. Look at your surroundings to make sure the cabinet is secure.

"Does it look rickety does it look like it's been tampered with? If it looks sketchy, go to a different pump, go to a different station," Mange said.

  • 2. Always use a credit card or the credit option on your debit card.

"You can always cancel, use credit and put your zip code in, one thing you don't want thieves to have is your pin number," Andy Erbaugh, Tyler Police Public Information officer said. 

  • 3. Make sure you check your bank statements frequently to make sure there aren't any suspicious transactions.

If you do notice something suspicious you should always file a police report, you can also file a skimmer complaint on the TDLR website.

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