JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspected nearly 500 gas stations last week in popular Spring Break destinations for skimmers and uncovered eight devices.
It may not sound like a lot, but each skimmer averages around 100 cards per device with an average of $1,000 stolen from each victim.
"You get a card so you don't have to carry cash on you all the time," said Darryll Perkins. Perkins prefers to use his card at the pump, but has never thought about someone stealing his card information while he was at the pump.
"I have never paid any attention to it to tell you the truth," said Perkins, "I guess they've found some kind of way to get the money off the card."
It is a high tech crime that uses Bluetooth technology. The skimmers transmit the information to installer who could be yards away from the pump.
In February, state inspectors found two card skimmers at this Kangaroo Express on Chaffee road. But since January they've recovered more than 55 devices from gas stations across the state.
However, not every skimmer is reported to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. A few weeks ago the pumps at several Circle K stores in Jacksonville were targeted.
The company directive reads:
"Do not touch with your bare hands, use gloves and bag them. Date store pump number written on bag. Then given to store manager without big ordeal do not want customer made aware."
We reached out to Circle K Florida for comment on the memo, but did not receive a response.
State officials says gas stations are not required to report skimmers, but when they don't it doesn't help law enforcement.
So how do you protect yourself from a skimmers at the pump?
First, pay inside when possible, whether paying with cash or a card.
Second, always use the pumps closest to the store, skimmers are often located on the pumps farthest from the store.
Third, always use a credit versus a debit transaction so you don't compromise your pin number.
Fourth, make a visual inspection of the pump for any noticeable break in seals
Finally, make it a habit to check your bank account statement at least once a month just in case someone may have stolen your information.