Ahead of this Memorial Day weekend, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam is providing Floridians and visitors simple tips to avoid identity-stealing card skimmers placed on gas pumps.
“Floridians and visitors shouldn’t have to worry about losing their hard-earned money to scammers who prey on victims at gas pumps. A few simple steps can help prevent identity theft,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.
Travelers can take the following steps to avoid skimmers at gas stations:
- Pay in cash inside the store to ensure credit card information stays safe.
- Check to make sure the gas pump dispenser cabinet is closed and has not been tampered with.
- Use a gas pump closer to the front of the store. Thieves often place skimmer at the gas pumps farther away from the store so they are not noticed as quickly.
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards have better fraud protection, and the money is not deducted immediately from an account.
- If using a debit card at the pump, choose to run it as a credit card instead of putting a PIN number in. That way, the PIN number is safe.
- Monitor bank accounts regularly to spot any unauthorized charges.
- Consumers who suspect their credit card number has been compromised should report it immediately to authorities and their credit card company.
Consumers who suspect that a gas pump has been tampered with should contact the gas station manager, local law enforcement or the department’s consumer protection and information hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).
The department regularly inspects gas stations and analyzes samples of petroleum products to ensure consumers are being offered quality products at a fair measure. For more information, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.