ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried visited Pinellas County to highlight the concerns and heighten awareness about modern skimmers being discovered at gas stations across the state.

Florida is one of the top states for scams, she said -- adding we can't let that continue. 

Fried says the state will start by breaking up credit card skimmer crime rings and bringing consumer awareness into the equation. 

"It's really important to make sure you're looking at the pumps, making sure they're not tampered with, and being aware," she said during the Thursday afternoon press conference hosted at an Exxon mobile on 4th Street North in St. Petersburg. 

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She says her department is committed to protecting consumers and people visiting our state. 

"I want people coming to our state to be aware as well," she said. 

Part of the problem, she adds, is criminals coming right behind inspectors removing skimmers to reinstall them again in the same spots. 

“As we adapt, criminals adapt too," she said while referring to the Bluetooth skimmer recently discovered at a Clearwater gas pump. Authorities said it allowed suspects to sit nearby and collect your credit card information without ever having to return to the pump.

RELATED: 'New' type of skimmer found inside gas pump in Clearwater

Fried also offered tips for people filling up at the pump.

  • Look closely for tampering at gas pumps and don't use the pump if you sense there has been tampering. Then, report the potential tampering.
  • As opposed to debit cards, use credit cards, which typically have fraud protections attached to them. Make sure to check your statements and sign up for fraud alerts. 
  • Use gas pumps close to the gas station, which may have more eyes on them.

If you see signs of potential tampering, you can report them by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832). You can also file a report online

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