'Protection at the Pump' legislation cracks down on gas station skimmers

More than 150 skimmers found in Florida this year

MIAMI – New legislation was highlighted Tuesday in Miami, promising to better protect consumers from getting their credit and debit card information stolen at gas pumps across the state.

Skimmer devices have become an increasing problem in the state and especially in South Florida.

"Unfortunately, 'skimmers' have been placed on gas pumps in South Florida and have stolen people's identity. I look forward to working with Commissioner (of Agriculture Adam) Putnam on legislation that will crack down on criminals who seek to prey on consumers while they fill their gas tanks," Sen. Anitere Flores, who is sponsoring the "protection at the pump" bill, said.

Flores and Rep. Dana Young are sponsoring Senate Bill 912 and House Bill 761 to protect consumers from identity theft at gas station pumps and hold the criminal responsible 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 sentencing guidelines.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regularly inspects Florida's nearly 8,000 gas stations and analyzes samples of petroleum products to make sure consumers are being charged fairly.

The department has discovered and removed about 160 skimmers at gas stations in Florida in the past nine months.

South Florida had the highest number of skimmers found, with 16 found in Miami-Dade County alone. Eleven skimmers were found in Palm Beach County, nine in Broward County and two in Monroe County.

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