HIALEAH, Fla. – Nikki Fried stood at a gas station on Monday in Hialeah to announce her support of a proposed bill against credit card skimmers who exploit gas station pumps in Florida.
Fried, the commissioner for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said she supports Florida Senate Bill 430.
“Skimmers are doubling every single year,” Fried said. “251 skimmers were found this year alone, and unfortunately 110 were here in South Florida ... for every skimmer that is found there is a $1 million hit on our consumers.”
Fried also said the state agency’s division of consumer services works with law enforcement and will oversee gas pump skimmer inspections if the legislation supporting the new effort passes.
The legislation requires gas stations to have security measures in addition to the pressure-sensitive security tape.
“It takes pumps with skimmers out of service until it has actually been reinspected to make sure there are no skimmers and no issues with the pump,” Fried said.
Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, a Republican, introduced the bill in January. The Florida Senate scheduled it for a second reading on Wednesday.
“The house bill version is not to where it needs to be yet, but we are working with the house sponsor,” Fried said.
Fried had a message for the skimmers in South Florida: “Let me be very clear to you. I have a zero-tolerance for criminal activity. We will investigate. We will find you and we will prosecute you.”
Fried also listed five preventive tips for consumers:
- “Make sure you are taking a look at the gas pump and make sure that there is nothing weird ... which means that there has not been any tampering; the tape isn’t falling apart.”
- “Make sure that you are also using a credit card. Your credit card has built-in fraud protection, so if you use your debit card that’s money lost that you cannot get back.”
- “It’s always better to go inside and actually pay with cash.”
- “Look for pumps that are close to the actual convenience store because that way there is more lighting. There is more traffic. There are more people around.”
- “Always check your credit card statements to make sure that there hasn’t been any fraud, or have fraud alerts that are on your actual phone.”
Watch the news conference