Bill Passes To Protect Floridians From ‘Skimmers,’ Commissioner Putnam’s Statement
By Space Coast Daily // January 19, 2016
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – The House of Representative’s Criminal Justice Subcommittee today unanimously passed a bill, House Bill 761, which will protect consumers from “skimmers” placed on gas pumps.
A skimmer is a device that steals credit or debit card information when consumers swipe their cards at a pump to pay for gas.
The total amount of skimmers found statewide by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services since March 2015 is more than 160.
“I thank Representative Dana Young and the Criminal Justice Subcommittee for their support of legislation that will better protect consumers from identity theft at gas pumps,” stated Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.
The number of consumers victimized by each skimmer is estimated to be about 100 per device with an average of $1,000 stolen from each victim.
Each skimmer represents an approximate $100,000 threat to the state of Florida and its consumers.
Under current Florida law, the penalty is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, to obtain fuel fraudulently. The bill calls for second-degree felony, or up to 15 years in prison.
Representative Dana Young and Senator Anitere Flores are sponsoring the legislation this Legislative Session, and the bills are supported by the Florida Sheriffs Association, the Florida Police Chiefs Association, and the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the state’s clearinghouse for consumer complaints, protection and information.
The call center is staffed with trained analysts who can respond to questions about programs and regulations under the department’s purview, provide information on a wide variety of topics or direct callers to the appropriate government agency.
Consumer can call 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or visit FreshFromFlorida.com for assistance.