Can you tell if a gas pump has a skimmer?
Author: Jennifer Titus
Published: 6:24 PM EST February 4, 2018
Updated: 11:13 PM EST February 5, 2018
NEWS 3 Articles

TAMPA, Fla. -- Every day, drivers stop at the gas station to fill up. But what if that fill up included giving out your credit card information to criminals.

It’s happening every day in Florida as more and more skimmers are found on the pump.

The number of skimmers has nearly tripled from 2016 to 2017. A record of 613 skimmers were found on gas pumps last year.

“You can pay for your gas purchase but now your credit card information and pin number is being installed into this hard drive,” says Detective Anthony Cardillo with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

The problem got so bad that legislatures passed a new law to keep you the consumer safe.

MAP: See where skimmers have been found in Florida from 2015 through the beginning of 2018

EXPLORE

Can you tell if a gas pump has a skimmer?

NEWS
Chapter 1

New Law to Keep You Safe

It’s all because of a new law that went into effect in October 2016 which requires gas stations to have certain security measures to help prevent their pumps from being installed with a skimmer:

“Requiring retail petroleum fuel measuring devices fitted with scanning devices to have certain security measures; requiring the owner or operator of a device to have certain security measures in place within a specified timeframe upon notice from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; revising the prohibition against trafficking in or possession of counterfeit credit cards, etc.”

At minimum, gas stations need to have at least a sticker.

James Shewbarren tells 10News putting the stickers on the pump is part of his daily routine.

He first checks the pumps for any skimmers and then replaces the stickers from the day before.

“Just checking the pumps. We do that on a regular basis,” says Shewbarren.

‘’These new stickers are required on every pump you visit,” says Det. Cardillo. “It is required now or they can get fined.”

Chapter 2

No sticker. No problem. (for some gas stations breaking the law)

But not all gas stations are protecting you. 10Investigates has learned that since the new law went into effect, more than 1,500 gas stations have had their pumps shut down for not following the law, making you more vulnerable to a tiny piece of technology that can steal your credit card information in just seconds.

The Department of Agriculture tells 10Investigates that when a pump is found to be in violation, it is shut down until the pump is up to code and most of these were fixed within 5 days. But don’t think if a gas station wasn’t on this list they are safe.

Our cameras found pump after pump in violation.

Detective Cardillo says if you notice that the sticker on the pump may be tampered with or there isn’t one, go talk to someone inside. They could have newer technology that is protecting you more than a sticker but you want to be safe.

‘‘If you’re suspicious in any way that something is being altered, do not swipe your card,” says Det. Cardillo.

Chapter 3

Keeping yourself safe

And the scary thing is, deputies have found skimmers on pumps that are following the law.

Maybe the criminal bought their own tape and replaced it. We found the stickers used for gas pumps for sale online.

“Maybe there should be ever tougher laws for gas stations to have better technology, but if they can’t follow the law with just a sticker then would they if laws were tougher,” says one gas station customer.

So to keep yourself safe, look for the sticker or a sign that says the pump is protected with technology that will prevent credit card info from being stolen.

Use the pumps on the inside of the station. Those are ones that are easier for gas station attendants to see.

Pay inside.

Use cash.

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