TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Senate's Criminal Justice Committee today passed a bill, Senate Bill 912, which will help protect consumers from “skimmers” placed on gas pumps. A skimmer is a device that steals credit or debit card information when consumers swipe their cards at a pump to pay for gas. The total number of skimmers found statewide by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services since March 2015 is more than 160.
“We estimate that $1,000 is stolen from each victim of a skimmer, and this legislation will better protect consumers from identity theft at gas pumps,” stated Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “I thank Senator Anitere Flores and the Criminal Justice Committee for their support of legislation to better protect consumers.”
The number of consumers victimized by each skimmer is estimated to be about 100 per device, with an average of $1,000 stolen from each victim. Each skimmer represents a $100,000 threat to the state of Florida and its consumers.
Senator Anitere Flores and Representative Dana Young are sponsoring the legislation this Legislative Session, and the bills are supported by the Florida Sheriffs Association, the Florida Police Chiefs Association, and the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association.
The proposed legislation helps to protect consumers from identity theft at gas station pumps by:
Requiring self-service fuel dispensers to use certain security measures to prevent theft of consumer financial information;
Increasing enforcement authority against those who possess or traffic fraudulent credit cards;
Reclassifying the crime of unlawful conveyance of fuel, which increases the maximum sentence; and
Increasing the offense level of the crime, which affects sentencing guidelines.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the state's clearinghouse for consumer complaints, protection and information. The call center is staffed with trained analysts who can respond to questions about programs and regulations under the department's purview, provide information on a wide variety of topics or direct callers to the appropriate government agency. Consumers can call 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or visit FreshFromFlorida.com for assistance.