103 credit card skimmers found at Florida gas stations

One example of a skimmer at a gas pump. The red tape says "Security Seal", but it's just a trick to cover the fact that the plastic piece that accepts a credit card has been tampered with.

ORLANDO, Fla.—Over the past three months, inspectors with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have swept through Florida checking gas station pumps for “skimmers,” devices that people illegally place on pumps in order to capture consumers’ credit or debit card information. Commissioner Adam H. Putnam today announced that his department has uncovered 103 skimmers used for identity theft at the 7,571 gas stations inspected.

“We will employ every weapon in the arsenal to protect Florida’s consumers and visitors from identity theft occurring at gas pumps,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “While the overall percentage of skimmers at pumps is low, one skimmer at a pump in Florida is one too many. I thank the Florida Petroleum Council and the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association for partnering with us, so we can involve gas station employees in our consumer protection efforts.”

“The petroleum industry is committed and fully serious about partnering with Commissioner Adam Putnam to aggressively fight the illegal use of credit card skimming devices used for identity theft. The Florida Petroleum Council and the department have a long and successful history at devising methods to identify and prevent the use of these devices,” stated David Mica, Executive Director of the Florida Petroleum Council.

  • Consumers can take the following steps to avoid skimmers at gas stations:
  • Pay in cash inside the store to ensure credit card information stays safe.
  • Check to make sure the gas pump dispenser cabinet is closed and has not been tampered with. Many stations are now putting a piece of security tape over the cabinet to ensure it has not been opened by unauthorized individuals.
  • Try to use a gas pump closer to the front of the store. Thieves often place skimmers at the gas pumps farther away from the store so they aren’t noticed as quickly.
  • Use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards have better fraud protection, and the money is not deducted immediately from an account.
  • If using a debit card at the pump, choose to run it as a credit card instead of putting a PIN number in. That way, the PIN number is safe.
  • Monitor bank accounts regularly to spot any unauthorized charges.

Consumers who suspect their credit card number has been compromised should report it immediately to authorities and their credit card company.

The counties and numbers of skimmers found are as follows:

Alachua – 3
Bay – 1
Brevard – 6
Broward – 9
Charlotte – 1
Citrus – 2
Duval – 3
Hernando – 2
Hillsborough – 6
Lake – 3
Lee – 3
Marion – 2
Martin – 3
Miami-Dade – 16
Monroe – 2
Okaloosa – 2
Orange – 6
Osceola – 5
Palm Beach – 11
Pasco – 1
Pinellas – 1
Polk – 4
Saint Lucie – 2
Sarasota – 1
Seminole – 1
Sumter – 1
Suwannee – 2
Volusia – 3
Walton – 1

Consumers who suspect that a gas pump has been tampered with should contact the gas station manager, local law enforcement or the department’s consumer protection and information hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).

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