Lee County gas stations must install anti-skimmer devices by July 1

Punta Gorda, Cape Coral and now all of Lee County. Commissioners passed an ordinance Tuesday that requires all gas pumps to have a lock on the front to prevent crooks from stealing your information.

People we spoke with said they are pleased for the extra protection at the pump. Using a credit or debit card at the pump is a quick and convenient way to pay for gasoline.

But one swipe could leave the driver in a mess of financial problems if those important numbers on the card fall into the wrong hands.

”I know that I didn’t spend $92 at a little convenience store,” Ruthie Towle said.

But somehow, Towle’s debit card charges show she did, coming after a quick stop at a gas station in Lee County.

”I felt like I was robbed,” Towle said. “Invaded. Oh my gosh, where did this money go? I had no idea.”

A recent spike of financial crimes comes with no arrests. Now, Lee County is cracking down.

Last year there were two skimmers found between January and May. So far this year, there have been seven — one right at a 7-Eleven where Toby Faulkner fills up off Bayshore Rd.

“They ain’t trying to get me like that,” Faulkner said. “It’s easier to go inside and pay.”

But now, every gas station will have to install anti-skimmer devices to protect customers in Lee County after commissioners pass a new ordinance. Gas stations have until July 1 to install the devices or they will face fines of $250 per fuel pump each day.

Other municipalities, like Cape Coral, have similar ordinances in place, Over the past 15 months, Cape Coral said they found no skimmers.

”We wanted to make sure all of Lee County was protected,” said Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman, “so that you could have confidence whether you’re filling up in the city or outside of the city to know that at least that owner is required to lock up that pump.”

”We work too hard for our money,” Faulkner said. “We don’t need someone coming and taking it like that.”

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Michael Mora
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