Florida Consumer Services Nail 5 ‘Skimmers’ In Brevard, 81 Statewide

By  //  April 26, 2015

Credit card “skimming” is becoming increasingly popular amongst fraudsters.
Credit card “skimming” is becoming increasingly popular amongst fraudsters.

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam is dedicated to protecting Florida consumers, and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has been sweeping through Florida checking gas pumps for “skimmers,” devices that capture consumers’ credit and debit card information.

Credit card “skimming” is becoming increasingly popular amongst fraudsters.

The website commercial appeal.com reports that the American ATM Association has officially defined skimming as “the unauthorized capture of magnetic stripe information by modifying the hardware or software of a payment device, or through the use of a separate card reader.”

Skimming can be done to both debit and credit cards, with equipment that can be easily obtained over the Internet.

Putnam announced Thursday that inspectors have checked more than 6,000 gas stations and found 81 skimmers at gas pumps throughout Florida, including five in Brevard County:

• Cocoa Mobil, 2201 State Rd. 524, Cocoa
• Kangaroo Express, 2455 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne
• Melbourne Beach Exxon, 904 Oak Street, Melbourne Beach
• 7 – Eleven Citco, 2980 S. Highway A1A, Melbourne Beach
• Sunshine Food Mart, 1165 Sarno Road, Melbourne

Adam Putnam
Adam Putnam

“From Okaloosa County to Miami-Dade County, these skimmers are being placed on gas pumps throughout the state,” stated Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.

“Our inspectors will continue to work to safeguard Floridians and tourists who shouldn’t have to worry about having their credit or debit card information stolen as they fuel-up.”

There are steps consumer can take to protect themselves, such as:

  • Pay in cash inside the store to ensure the 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 a debit card. 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.

The counties and numbers of skimmers found are as follows:

  • Alachua – 2
  • Bay – 1
  • Brevard – 5
  • Broward – 9
  • Charlotte – 1
  • Citrus – 2
  • Duval – 3
  • Hernando – 2
  • Hillsborough – 6
  • Lee – 2
  • Marion – 2
  • Martin – 3
  • Miami-Dade – 14
  • Okaloosa – 2
  • Orange – 4
  • Osceola – 2
  • Palm Beach – 8
  • Pasco – 1
  • Pinellas – 1
  • Polk – 3
  • Sarasota – 1
  • St. Lucie – 1
  • Sumter – 1
  • Suwannee – 2
  • Volusia – 2
  • Walton – 1