Four Gas Pump “Skimmers” Found in Palm Beach County Sweep

Jul 01, 15 Four Gas Pump “Skimmers” Found in Palm Beach County Sweep

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspected 46 Palm Beach County gas stations this week for “skimmers,” devices that illegally capture consumers’ credit or debit card information, and found and removed four.

“We will continue to protect Florida’s residents and visitors from the financial fraud that results from ‘skimmers’ at gas pumps. The four found in Palm Beach County this week indicate that while the problem is not widespread, it continues to pose a threat to consumers,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.

“Skimmers” were found at the following locations:

Shell Station, located at 6751 W Indiantown Rd., Jupiter, Fla. (2 “skimmers” found)

Gas Land Station, located at 14111 Military Trail, Boca Raton, Fla. (1 “skimmer” found)

Valero Station, located at 2900 Okeechobee Blvd, West Palm Beach, Fla. (1 “skimmer” found)

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.

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 are not 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.

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).

In addition to routinely checking pumps for “skimmers,” Commissioner Putnam has worked to protect consumers by partnering with the Florida Petroleum Council and the Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association on an initiative intended to educate the industry about ways they can help protect consumers from “skimmers.” The Council and Association have distributed a one-page informational sheet to their members with helpful information, such as “what to know,” “how to help,” and “who to call,” in order to engage gas station employees in this consumer protection initiative.

The department regularly inspects gas stations and analyzes samples of petroleum products to ensure consumers are being offered quality products at a fair measure.

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