FLORIDA — Gas pump skimmers are a growing risk across the state of Florida.
Recently, Florida Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried said the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services found 259 skimmers during a statewide skimmer sweep. Since 2015, more than 2,800 skimmers have been found in Florida.
“Florida is known for beaches, oranges, Disney, but also fraud — we are the top state for scams, and we can't let that continue.” — Commissioner Fried.
To help Floridians avoid credit card fraud by gas pump skimmers Commissioner Fried and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services are sharing the following five tips:
Take a close look at the pump
Avoid using pumps that are open or unlocked, have had the tamper-evident security tape cut or removed, or otherwise appear unusual. Some newer pumps may also have encrypted credit card readers – look for an illuminated green lock symbol near the credit card reader.
Use a credit card – not a debit card
If a credit card number is skimmed, you're protected by the card issuer's zero-liability policy – but a stolen debit card number could be far more damaging. If you must use a debit card, choose to use it as credit, instead of selecting debit and entering your PIN.
Pay inside, with cash or credit, instead of at the pump
It takes just seconds for criminals to place a skimmer in a gas pump – but it's far less likely that a fraudster placed a skimmer on the payment terminal in front of the clerk inside the gas station or convenience store.
Choose gas pumps closest to a physical building
Don't use gas pumps out of the attendant's line of sight, such as those around a corner or behind a building.
Check your card statements and sign up for fraud alerts
Nearly every credit card issuer offers fraud alerts, and many will email or text you when your card is used at a gas station. Check your credit card and debit card transactions frequently to make sure no fraudulent activity has occurred.