PHOENIX (KSAZ) - It's an alarming trend in the valley: state officials are finding more credit card skimmers at gas pumps in the month of August than they did in all of 2015.
Experts say these crooks are preying on the convenience of swiping your card and trying to steal your information.
A bundle of cables and wires may not look like much to the untrained eye, but they're being used to steal your money when you fill up at the pump.
"Crooks are very ingenious. They take modern technology and they make it work for their benefit," said Arizona Department of Agriculture Director, Mark Killian.
The Department of Agriculture oversees the Weights and Measures Services division. Killian says Arizona is seeing a big uptick in the number of credit card skimmers being installed by crooks, all in an effort to steal your credit card information.
So far this year, the department has found 40 credit card skimmers all over the state. Just this month they've found 12.
To put this problem into perspective, Killian says they only found a total of 11 skimmers last year.
"Our biggest challenge is just staying ahead of the crooks. It's very difficult because they change technology as fast as we figure out what they're doing."
Technology has made it almost undetectable to tell if a pump has a skimmer installed.
"They can open a gas pump and install a skimmer device in the cabling connected to the card reader within seven seconds and be out of there and gone," explained Killian.
Killian says the best way to protect yourself is to ask questions.
"Wherever you fill up for gas, ask them how often they check for skimmers. That lets the fuel distributors know that the public is aware of the problem and if they know there's questions about that, that's going to let them do what they need to do."
Killian adds that you should never use a debit card and the best way to protect yourself all together, although a bit more inconvenient, is to use cash. He also says if you see something or someone suspicious hanging around gas pumps, call the police.