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Identity stealing card skimmers


Adam Putnam said in a release they are finding more identity-stealing card skimmers at gas pumps across Florida. Their inspectors have found and removed nearly 300 skimmers in the first half of this year, which is more than they found in all of 2016. 

To better protect consumers from identity theft at gas station pumps, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has worked with the Florida Legislature to change Florida law, partnered with local law enforcement and educated the gas station industry and consumers. But criminals are always trying to stay one step ahead, so Putnam encourages Floridians to follow a few simple tips to help protect yourself and your hard-earned money from skimmers. 

Putnam said, “Identity theft is the last thing that you should have to worry about when hitting the road, and we will continue to crack down on these skimmers and the criminals responsible.”

Travelers 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.

Use a gas pump closer to the front of the store. Thieves often place skimmers at the gas pumps farther away from the store.

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.

Commissioner Putnam worked with the Florida Legislature last year to change Florida law to better protect consumers from identity theft at gas station pumps by: Requiring self-service fuel dispensers to use certain security measures to prevent theft of consumer financial information; Increasing enforcement authority against those who possess or traffic fraudulent credit cards; Reclassifying the crime of unlawful conveyance of fuel, which increases the maximum sentence; and Increasing the offense level of the crime, which affects sentencing guidelines. 

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).