Florida officials warn of increase in skimmers at gas stations

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jul 12, 2017

"It was just sitting right here -- plain as day. They didn't even try to hide it."

You'll probably never spot one to even protect yourself from it.

"They pull this off, plug their skimmer into it and then plug the gas station's line into the other end of the skimmer."

These days most gas card skimmers are hidden on the inside of pumps by thieves and they're banking on your paycheck.

"Go and buy a stack of gift cards. Put them on their credit card and then go and purchase items off the gift cards really quick so they'll have no trace of where those gift cards were utilized,” said Larry McKinnon, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson.

Adam Putnam says this year Florida's been hit hard. 300 skimmers have been found to date statewide. That's why he's offering some tips to keep in mind.

"Use the pumps that are most in direct line of sight with the person working inside. The skimmers tend to be found on the outlying pumps not in the center section of the gas station that are the most highly trafficked,” he said.

He also suggests using cash if possible and always using a credit card over a debit card.

To see where skimmers have been found at gas stations around Tampa Bay and our state, check out this interactive map:

"They key to this is the constant vigilance of your credit card through your bank,” said McKinnon.

Florida says skimmer victims on-average lose about $1,000. Most of which is taken care of by your credit card company which makes it much harder for the state to find skimmer thieves because the crime is rarely reported.