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ORLANDO, Fla. — A statewide sweep of 7,571 gas stations in the Sunshine State revealed 103 skimmer devices, according to Florida's Department of Agriculture.
The effort took three months to complete and was part of an initiative spearheaded by the Florida Petroleum Council and the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association to educate the industry about how to protect consumers from skimmers.
At least one skimmer was found in 29 Florida counties, reported The Associated Press. Miami-Dade County had the most at 16 skimmers, followed by Palm Beach County with 11, and Broward County with nine.
Skimmers are placed on gas pumps by criminals in an effort to capture customers' credit or debit card information. These criminals often access the stolen information using remote technology.
"We will employ every weapon in the arsenal to protect Florida’s consumers and visitors from identity theft occurring at gas pumps,” Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam told the Palm Beach Post. "While the overall percentage of skimmers at pumps is low, one skimmer at a pump in Florida is one too many.”
In an effort to prevent future theft of consumer data, Putnam is partnering with the Florida Petroleum Council and Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association to offer tips to gas station employees. For example, employees are being told to watch out for criminals attempting to use an accomplice to block the store clerk's view with a large vehicle while another person installs a skimmer, reported the Post.