MIAMI – Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam hosted a news conference at a Miami gas station this week in conjunction with the Miami-Dade Police Department and State Sen. Anitere Flores about the state's new anti-skimmer law, which takes effect Oct. 1.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspects Florida's nearly 8,000 gas stations.
Officials said they have already partnered with the industry to implement consumer protections at gas pumps, which includes placing security tape over the cabinet of the pump.
CONSUMER TIP: Look for strips of tape on gas station pumps and if you see one tampered with or torn, avoid using that pump and alert a gas station manager.
In a Call Christina exclusive series of reports, investigative consumer reporter Christina Vazquez showed you how thieves were placing skimmers inside gas pumps.
The new legislation aims to crackdown on skimmer scammers.
As Vazquez reported back in 2015, when the legislation was first proposed, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced that the new anti-skimmer law aims to protect you from identify theft at gas stations by:
· Requiring self-service fuel dispensers to use certain security measures to prevent theft of consumer financial information;
· Increasing enforcement authority against those who possess or traffic fraudulent credit cards;
· Reclassifying the crime of unlawful conveyance of fuel, which increases the maximum sentence; and
· Increasing the offense level of the crime; which affects the sentencing guidelines.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has found more than 200 skimmers statewide since the beginning of 2015.
South Florida had the highest number of skimmers found.
Flores and State Rep. Dana Young sponsored the legislation in the Florida Senate and Florida House of Representatives, respectively.
"We estimate that $1,000 is stolen from each victim of a skimmer, not to mention the immeasurable havoc that identity theft wreaks on people's lives," Putnam said. "This legislation will help protect Floridians and their hard-earned money from skimmers at the pump, as well as increase penalties for the crooks perpetrating these crimes."
Related Link: Dozens of skimmers found at South Florida gas stations
"By increasing security measures at gas pumps and increasing the penalties for criminals who prey on innocent consumers, this legislation will help protect Floridians and visitors from thieves who use skimmers to steal from our citizens," Young said.