How to protect your accounts from credit card skimmers

By Christie Zizo, Digital Media Producer
Last Updated: Friday, September 01, 2017, 9:26 PM EDT

Law enforcement officials are finding more skimmers throughout Florida, and they want you to know how to protect yourself.

  • Some 382 skimmers found on Florida gas pumps since January
  • Check security devices on gas pumps, use a credit card or cash

Since January, almost 382 skimmers have been found on gas pumps around Florida. That's more than the number of skimmers found throughout 2016.

Skimmers are devices attached to gasp pumps, ATMs and other card reading devices that allow thieves to steal payment data.

Florida lawmakers have stepped up penalties for those caught using skimmers, or even being in possession of one before they are added.

More security measures are being added to gas pumps and ATMs, and the petroleum industry is working to better train gas station to recognize skimmers.

However, the skimmer technology is also getting better. So law enforcement officials offer this advice to consumers.

  • Don't use debit cards at a gas pump. Use a credit card, which has better security. Or pay inside or with cash.
  • Look for security devices on the gas pump. Make sure the pump cabinet is locked. There should be no open doors. Make sure the security seal is intact.
  • Use the pumps that are in the gas station clerk's line of sight. Out of view pumps are more likely to have skimmers.
  • In the case of pumps or ATMs, tug on the card reader and make sure it doesn't move.
  • Be sure to hide your PIN as you input it. Some skimmers include tiny cameras over the number pad.
  • Routinely monitor personal accounts to spot any fraudulent charges.

If you see anything suspicious, notify the gas station employees and local law enforcement. You can also call the FL Dept. of Agriculture's consumer protection and information hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352), or in Spanish at 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).