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TALLAHASEE, Fla. — Two Florida state politicians have introduced legislation to protect consumers from skimming devices, used by criminals to steal credit and debit card information at the pump.
According to the Palm Beach Post, State Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami) and Rep. Dana Young (R-Tampa) introduced legislation intended 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. The Senate bill calls for at a minimum, the placement of security tape over the panel opening that leads to the scanning device.
- Increasing enforcement authority against those who possess or traffic fraudulent credit card.
- Reclassifying the crime of unlawful conveyance of fuel, which increases the maximum sentence.
- Increasing the offense level of the crime; which affects the sentencing guidelines.
Between 100 and 5,000 consumers are victimized by each skimmer, with an average of 1,000 stolen from each victim, the news outlet reported. Each skimmer carries a $100,000 to $5 million hit to the state of Florida.
The Sunshine State has discovered and removed more than 150 skimming devices at gas stations within the past year alone.
“We estimate that $1,000 is stolen from each victim of a skimmer, not to mention the immeasurable havoc that identity theft wreaks on people’s lives,” said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. “This legislation will help protect Floridians and their hard-earned money from skimmers at the pump, as well as increase penalties for the crooks perpetrating these crimes. I thank Sen. Flores and Rep. Young for their leadership on this consumer protection initiative.”
Flores added Florida residents should not have to worry about identity theft when paying for gas at the pump.
“By increasing security measures at gas pumps and increasing the penalties for criminals who prey on innocent consumers, this legislation will help protect Floridians and visitors from thieves who use skimmers to steal from our citizens,” added Young.