by: Russell Colburn, Action News Jax Updated:
Right now, the state of Florida is issuing a travel alert, as credit card skimmers have been found at nearly 300 gas pumps just this year.
State Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Adam Putnam said that’s nearly 100 more skimmers than the number found in all of 2016, and victims are losing thousands of dollars.
Remember, you can jiggle the card reader to make sure a new piece hasn't been added, and you should look for tape on the pump to make sure the seal hasn't been broken.
“They make molds or whatever it is and then slip them right in there over top of them and you don't even know what's going on,” said Mike Virgo, who has been a skimming victim.
“A couple (of) years ago, I got my bank account drained by them,” Virgo said. “They got about ($3,000).”
State law enforcement officials said the 285 skimmers found in Florida so far this year include skimmers used in seven incidents in Duval County at three locations: a Sunoco on Lane Avenue South, the St. Nicholas Food Mart on Beach Boulevard and a Kangaroo station on Chaffee Road South.
Looking areawide, a station on U.S. Highway 90 was targeted in Columbia County, as were two gas stations in Nassau County, one on Old Nassauville Road and one on U.S. Highway 17.
The skimming devices are used to steal your debit or credit card information.
State officials said people who have their personal information stolen lose an average of $1,000.
“The crooks that are doing it are getting more and more advanced, so it's harder to catch them,” Virgo said.
State law enforcement officials said the crooks often choose pumps that aren't in the direct line of sight to the gas station's employees.
So, if you can, use the pumps closer to the store.
Putnam said newer gas stations have installed technology to keep people from being ripped off. He said some pumps will even shut off if they've been tampered with.
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