Collier County may soon join the growing number of communities that require gas station owners to protect customers from skimming - the crime in which thieves install a device on a gas pump's credit card reader, which can send them unsuspecting customers' financial information.
Charlotte County, along with the CIty of Cape Coral and the Village of Estero, have already adopted ordinances that would fine gas station owners hundreds of dollars if they fail to put locks - or use other security measures - on all of their gas pumps, in order to prohibit a thief from gaining access to the pumps.
Collier County Commissioner Burt Saunders believes that it's time for Collier to join those communities by adopting a similar ordinance.
"It will not be very costly, but it will protect consumers," Saunders said. "It will give consumers the comfort of knowing that when you buy gas, someone's not going to steal your credit card information."
Saunders and the four other county commissioners will discuss a proposed ordinance for Collier County at their regular board meeting on Tuesday. Penalties for ignoring the ordinance would include fines, and - for any gas station owners who consistently fail to comply - the possibility of jail time. But Saunders believes it's unlikely it would come to that.
"A violation of an ordinance can be considered a misdemeanor," Saunders said. "There can be jail time, up to 60 days, I believe. That's not an issue. What would be an issue would be code enforcement levying fines for failure to comply."
If the ordinance is adopted, it would go into effect January 1.