Card skimming at gas pumps has become so rampant in Austin that police officers are warning Austinites to pay for gas inside the station.

Two people have been arrested in the past few weeks in connection with skimming. Skimming is the process of attaching a device to the card scanner that collects personal information including credit card numbers and passwords.

“Credit card skimming has become such a problem in Travis County that I’m encouraging everybody to not use their credit cards at the gas pump,” Travis County Capt. Craig Smith said, adding that drivers should go inside to buy gas instead. “I know that takes away from the convenience of pay at the pump 100 percent, but right now that is the only way that we know that you can be sure that (you avoid) your credit card being skimmed.”

Perpetrators often use the stolen card information to buy diesel and resell it illegally. Police officers have yet to catch people in the action of attaching a skimmer to a gas station.

A good way to tell if there is a card skimmer is to pull your phone out and check for random Bluetooth accounts trying to connect to your phone.

The skimmers have been found in several areas around Austin including east Austin and northeast Austin. If you notice fraudulent charges on your account contact your bank or credit union immediately.

Skimming has become a widespread problem in other parts of Texas as well including Dallas and San Antonio. The state has started to track reports of skimmers found at gas stations.

“We don’t tolerate cattle rustlers, horse thieves or cheats at the agriculture department,” said Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. “Our inspectors are now opening every pump as we do calibrations. We’ve got a whole new set of rules coming out.”

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