Lee County gas pump skimmer inspections start Tuesday

Looking at a gas pump, it is next to impossible to know if there is a skimmer attached, even if a person inserts their debit or credit card. For some people, it makes refueling their vehicle a dicey proposition.

“That somebody has a skimmer on it,” said Dianne Masterson, a driver, “that my identity is going to be taken.”

Lee County passed a law demanding every gas station owner to install technology that protects the users from skimmers. It is the sheriff’s job to inspect the pumps to make sure the gas stations did and it starts Tuesday.

“Every single pump in the unincorporated areas,” said Sheriff Carmine Marceno, of Lee County Sheriff’s Office, “will have a sticker that shows you are safe.”

“On our first trip around, we’re going to give everyone a warning to be in compliance by the date we give them,” said Cpt. Kevin Ferry, LCSO Economic Crimes. “If they’re not in compliance, they face the penalty of $250 per pump per day.”

The Florida Dept. of Petroleum Marketers Association told WINK News Lee County is punishing small business owners for the actions of criminals. But LCSO said some owners were not doing enough to protect customers. It has uncovered 85 skimmers since 2015. Each one had countless victims.

Among those victims is Mahmoud Asran. Around $600 was gone from his account. He supports the new ordinance.

“It wasn’t a good experience,” Asran said. “It was bad.”

If you suspect suspicious activity, contact your bank or card issuer to immediately deactivate the card.

File a Complaint

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) regularly inspects gas pumps and analyzes samples of petroleum products to ensure consumers are being offered quality products at a fair measure. The number of skimming devices discovered by FDACS inspectors more than tripled from 169 in 2015 to 655 in 2017 and may exceed 1,000 in 2018.

Consumers who suspect that a gas pump has been tampered with should contact the gas station manager and file a complaint with FDACS. You can file a complaint online or by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).

Resources

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Michael Mora
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