Police issue alert about credit card skimmers

Kyle Police say at least two people fell victim to credit card skimmers discovered last week on two pumps at the Q-Way Gas located in the 400 block Rebel Road.

It’s not the first time skimmers have been located in Kyle but it is not something that happens frequently, Capt. Pedro Hernandez said.

“We don’t find them often,” he said. While he’s not sure of the date, Hernandez said the last discovery was “longer than six months” ago. “It’s not common for us like in bigger cities. We get bulletins from other agencies” for the offense, which is characterized as credit card abuse.

The devices were discovered Thursday, Sept. 19. It’s unknown how long they were in place.

Kyle Police Chief Jeff Barnett offered several tips to avoid being victimized:

• Make sure the gas pump panel is closed and doesn’t show any signs of tampering. Many stations now put security seals over the cabinet panel. If the pump panel is opened, the label will read “void.”

• Look at the card reader itself. Does it look different than other readers at the station?

• Try to wiggle the card reader before you put in your card. If it moves report it to the attendant. Then use a different pump

• If you use a debit card at the pump, run it as a credit card instead of entering a PIN. That way, the PIN is safe and the money isn’t deducted immediately from your account.

• If you’re really concerned about skimmers, pay inside rather than at the pump.

• Monitor your credit card and bank accounts regularly to spot unauthorized charges.

• If your credit card has been compromised, report it to your bank or card issuer. Federal law limits your liability if your credit, ATM or debit card is lost or stolen, but your liability may depend on how quickly you report the loss or theft.”

Hernandez said he wholeheartedly agrees with the suggestion to “wiggle” the card reader before using it. “The things snap on top of the original,” he said. “I’ve trained my family to do that, grab hold of it and just wiggle it a little bit.” If it is a skimmer, he said, “it will either pop off or be a little loose.”

To report a credit card skinner, call police at 512-268-0859.

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