Published: Jan 25, 2012 3:47 AM EST

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. -- Credit card users beware!  A local restaurant says when you pay for your meal using that card, thieves can steal your personal information by hacking into the computer system.  Restaurants in southwest Florida are working to protect you.

The marketing director for Big Al's in Bonita Springs said they've completely changed their firewall settings after customers started complaining that their credit card numbers had been swiped.

Anthony Valerio said there is no way he could have been in two places at once.

"My card was duplicated and actually hand swiped in Texas, at a grocery store while I was in Florida at the same time," said Valerio.

Valerio noticed the bogus charges last week and realized one of the last places he used his card was Big Al's in Bonita Springs.

"I called the restaurant up and asked them what was going on and said my card got duplicated and do you guys know anything?  They openly said that as of December 20th their card system got hacked into and cards have been compromised," said Valerio.

The marketing director for the restaurant said they took the precautions to protect customers after hearing about this happening throughout southwest Florida.

"We immediately took down all of our internet, put in a completely new firewall," said Richard Karp, marketing director, Big Al's.

Now Valerio says he's always watching for other fraudulent charges.
     
"Daily checking is the best thing to do.  You can't get around it.  That is the best thing.  Always monitor what you're doing," said Valerio.

If you think your credit card number might have been swiped, there are ways to protect yourself and your money.

"They just call their credit card company.  Generally they will shut down the account, issue a new card and they'll issue credit for those charges," said Karp.

As for Valerio, he's working with law enforcement in Texas and Florida to get the money back that was stolen but that could take time.

"My account only had $500 in it and I paid my student loan which was $400 so that left me minor play room now," said Valerio.

It is important to turn your card off if you feel it's been compromised and always call police.