Gap Pump Credit Card Skimming – A Public Concern
- November 21, 2017
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Uncategorized
The number of credit card skimming devices discovered inside Florida gas pumps has gone up dramatically since last year. We think it’s important to highlight this growing criminal threat so we can all protect ourselves from identity theft and financial fraud. So far this year, at least 508 skimmers have been found inside gas pumps across Florida, compared to 219 uncovered during all of 2016. The highest number of skimmers has been found in Palm Beach County. Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services estimates 100 consumers are victimized by each skimmer, often resulting in $1,000 stolen from each victim.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is working to educate motorists about the hidden devices that steal information when debit or credit cards are swiped at the pumps. He released tips to protect the traveling public during the summer season and his advice is worth sharing.
- Make sure security tape on a gas pump dispenser is not torn
- Use a gas pump closer to the front of the store
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card when possible
- Immediately report any suspicion of foul play
In response to the criminal activity, state lawmakers passed a law last year requiring security measures at gas pumps and reclassifying the crime to allow for tougher sentencing. A spokesman for the Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association believes the legislative efforts will make a difference. “You can’t catch every single bad guy but adding a layer of security and increasing penalties for being caught with a skimmer, protects our 10,000 members and consumers.” James Miller also points out that skimmers present a financial threat to gas stations, which are branded as unsafe, after a skimming device is uncovered. “That’s why we’re assisting with security training for convenience store employees, teaching them to check every pump three times a day.”
It’s encouraging to know lawmakers and state agencies have taken steps to thwart the prevalence of skimmers but devices are still out there and law enforcement experts agree skimmers are now more advanced, and smaller and easier to use.
In order to outsmart culprits who plant skimmers, it’s best to keep skimming in mind when pulling into a gas station. As Commissioner Putnam explained this summer, “an educated consumer is the best defense” to avoid skimmers.