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Inspectors Find Card Skimmers At South Florida Gas Pumps

Flickr/Creative Commons

Inspectors from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have found more than 80 “skimmers” at gas stations across the state.

Skimmers are small devices attached to card swipe machines at gas pumps, and they steal credit and debit card information from drivers while they are filling up their cars.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says skimming is a lucrative business for thieves, as most gas pumps handle a significant number of transactions every day, involving banks from across the country.

“When you think about the turnover at any given pump at a busy gas station in a major city in Florida, they are getting access to lots and lots of bank accounts and stealing money from Floridians are tourists who are visiting our state," Putnam said.

Putnam says the problem is more prevalent in South Florida, but even gas stations along interstates in otherwise rural areas of the state have also been affected.

Putnam says one way to protect yourself is to use the credit card option, rather than debit, as credit transactions have better fraud protection.

He adds drivers should try to use pumps within the line of site of the store clerk, as skimmers tend to be found on pumps near the outside edge of a gas station.

If you suspect your information has been stolen, report it immediately to your bank.