TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida officials say 103 credit card skimmers were uncovered at gas stations across the state in the last three months.
[MORE: How skimmers steal your information ]
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said the skimming devices, which are used for identity theft, were found in the inspection of nearly 7,571 gas stations across the state. Twenty-seven of them in the Orlando metro area.
"These are in large gas stations and small gas stations, they're in urban areas and rural areas. Newer gas stations and older gas stations. There is not a rhyme or reason where the thieves attach these devices," said Commissioner Adam Putnam.
Officials said in April more than 80 skimmers were found at gas stations in March. Officials said in a release on Tuesday that a total of 103 were found over the last few months, with the addition of 22 new skimmers found since last count.
The following Central Florida gas stations had skimmers at their pumps:
- Cocoa Mobil, 2201 State Rd. 524, Cocoa, FL – 1 skimmer
- Kangaroo Express # 6087 BP, 2455 N. Wickham Rd., Melbourne, FL – 1 skimmer
- Melbourne Beach Exxon, 904 Oak Street, Melbourne Beach, FL – 1 skimmer
- 7 – Eleven CITGO 32409, 2980 S. Highway A1A, Melbourne Beach, FL – 1 skimmer
- Sunshine Food Mart 191 BP, 1165 Sarno Road, Melbourne, FL– 1 skimmer
- Town Star 52 Marathon, 6690 S. Highway A1A, Floridana Beach, FL - 1 skimmer
- 7-Eleven#32622 101 E. Washington St. Minneola, FL - 1 skimmer
- Express Shop/7-Eleven#39370, 13800 S Greater Hills Blvd, Clermont, FL - 1 skimmer.
- Express Shop/Hess#9758, 4415 S Highway 27, Clermont, FL -1 skimmer
- Park Qwik King Food Store, 2400 SE 36th Ave, Ste 101, Ocala, FL – 1 skimmer
- Kangaroo #2120, 14870 S. US Highway 441, Summerfield, FL – 1 skimmer
- Mobil Mart # 46659, 203 N. Semoran Blvd., Winter Park, FL – 1 skimmer
- 7–Eleven # 35825, 10254 Curry Ford Rd, Orlando, FL – 2 skimmers
- Macon Parkway CITGO, 20733 Macon Parkway, Orlando FL – 1 skimmer
- Kangaroo Express #2116 17503 W Colonial Drive, Oakland, FL - 1 skimmer
- 7-Eleven #27426 13698 W Colonial Drive, Winter Garden, FL - 1 skimmer
- 7- Eleven # 34867/ Mobil, 2101 Old Canoe Creek Rd., Saint Cloud, FL – 1 skimmer
- Grand Food Store #3, 800 Cypress Hwy, Poinciana, FL- 1 skimmer
- 926 Main Street/Citgo 926 N. Main Street, Kissimmee - 1 skimmer
- Sunoco #2707 6990 E. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, St. Cloud, FL - 1 skimmer
- 5 Star gas & food/Citgo, 2340 W Memorial Boulevard, Lakeland,FL - 1 skimmer
- 98 Sunoco #625, 3230 US Highway 98 N, Lakeland, FL – 1 skimmer
- Lakeland Exxon, 4655 N. Socrum Loop Rd, Lakeland, FL- 1 skimmer
- Scenic CITGO, 800 N Scenic Hwy, Lake Wales, FL- 1 skimmer
- Sunoco # 0041-8012/ CO-OP 2739, 1546 W. Granada Blvd., Ormond Beach, FL – 1 skimmer
- Kangaroo Express 1263/Valero, 1380 Howland Blvd., Deltona, FL - 1 skimmer
- SNS Quik Mart, 1537 Ridgewood Ave., Holly Hill, FL – 1 skimmer
- Winter Spring Mobil 1205 E State Road 434, Winter Springs, FL - 1 skimmer
- Circle K LLC- 22 E C 470, Lake Panasoffkee, FL- 1 skimmer
For a full list of Florida gas stations affected, click here.
The sweep was part of an initiative with the Florida Petroleum Council and Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association to educate the industry about ways to protect consumers from skimmers.
At least one skimmer was found in 29 Florida counties. Miami-Dade had the most with 16, followed by Palm Beach with 11 and Broward with nine. Six skimmers apiece were discovered in Brevard, Hillsborough and Orange counties.
Officials also released the following tips to protect yourself from skimmers:
- Pay in cash inside the store to ensure the credit card information stays safe.
- Check to make sure the gas pump dispenser cabinet is closed and has not been tampered with. Many stations are now putting a piece of security tape over the cabinet to ensure it has not been opened by unauthorized individuals.
- Use a gas pump closer to the front of the store. Thieves often place skimmers 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 a debit card. 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.
Through educaiton and awareness, Putnam said he hopes the new partnership will deter thieves from scamming drivers in the future.
"Hopefully make Florida a place where thieves and fraudsters are not welcome to use their skimmers at our gas pumps," said Putnam
Officials said those who think 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.
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