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Credit card skimmers are on the rise in Florida

Posted at 8:03 AM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 08:03:47-04

Card skimmers are on the rise in Florida. The state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reports the number of card skimmers have tripled in the past few years.

Across the state, inspectors recovered 655 skimmers in 2017 and so far 539 this year. That's a big spike from the 169 skimmers found in 2015.

The report indicates that some were found in Estero and Naples. The map below shows card skimmers found in Florida. It’s provided by the Department of Agriculture.

Use the map below to see where state inspectors have uncovered skimming devices so far in 2018. (This does not include skimming devices reported to local law enforcement agencies.)

If the map does not load on your screen, click here.

This map doesn't include every single skimmer reported to police. Earlier this year, a few were also found by police in Punta Gorda and Cape Coral.

So how can you protect your wallet? 

When you pull up to a gas station, there are several ways you can protect your wallet.

First, choose a pump that's closest to the clerk window. Police say thieves are more likely to place skimmers on the pumps not seen by the clerk. Also, buy your gas with a credit card instead of a debit card, that way you can stop fraud charges *before your money gets stolen. Then, check the card reader by wiggling it. If something does not look or feel right, move on to the next pump.

Your phone can also help check for skimmers. The Lee County Sheriff's Office says the Bluetooth on your I phone can check for skimmers. If you see a long string of numbers and letters trying to connect, a skimmer could be nearby. When in doubt, pay for gas with cash.