Florida has a skimmer problem

Recent inspections of gas stations show that payment card skimmers are prevalent in Florida.

Over the past three months, 103 skimmers were found at gas stations across the state after recent inspections performed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. 

The sweep was part of a collaboration between the state department, the Florida Petroleum Council and the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association to help inform industry members about the dangers of skimmers and how to protect their consumers against them.

In addition to locating and removing skimmers, the organizations are distributing informational material to member gas stations with facts about the devices, what to do if they find one and how to assist their customers if they fall victim to one. 

"We will employ every weapon in the arsenal to protect Florida's consumers and visitors from identity theft occurring at gas pumps. [Even] one skimmer at a pump in Florida is one too many," said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. "Hopefully [this partnership will] make Florida a place where thieves and fraudsters are not welcome to use their skimmers at our gas pumps."

Almost half of Florida's counties, 29, had at least one skimmer in them. Miami-Dade county had the most with 16, followed by Palm Beach with 11 and Broward with nine. Brevard, Hillsborough and Orange counties had six skimmers apiece. 

Officials recommended consumers use pumps that are closer to the front of the store. A quick inspection of the pump is advised, such as checking to see if the pump's cabinet door has been tampered with or if the credit card reader is loose or looks out of place.

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