Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried spoke in support of bill Monday that would require gas stations to increase credit card security measures at the pump.
Speaking at a RaceTrac station in Hialeah, Fried noted Florida’s nation-leading fraud rates and promoted a bill (SB 430) targeting credit card skimmers and other fraud schemes.
First detected in Florida in 2015, according to a staff analysis, skimmers are electronic devices that collect a consumer’s credit card information. The information, obtained illegally and often unbeknownst to the consumer, is often used to make unauthorized purchases.
More than 5,000 skimmers have been discovered in Florida since 2015, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
“Senate Bill 430 is an important part of increasing consumer safety at the gas pump, requiring additional security measures and that skimmers be reported quickly,” Fried said. “I thank Senator [Ana Maria] Rodriguez for this legislation, and we’re optimistically working with the House sponsor to improve the bill.”
Noting that swindlers have the potentional to steal roughly $1 million in credit card charges per skimmer, Fried offered a few consumer protection tips to Floridians.
Fried encouraged Floridians to visually inspect pumps for anything unsealed and avoid ones that are unlocked, open or are without tamper-evident security tape.
If you have doubts, she added, pay inside.
“Skimmers and data theft are serious issues, and we’re proud to offer guests industry-leading security technology. We continually work with financial institutions, credit card companies, law enforcement, and agencies like the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to evaluate and update security measures,” said RaceTrac Chief Financial Officer Karla Ahlert.
Fried also encouraged the use of credit cards over debit cards as credit cards carry more consumer protections.
“Consumers should remain vigilant at the gas pump, and would-be criminals should know this: if you install an illegal skimmer, we will investigate it, you will be caught, and you will be prosecuted,” she said.
The Florida Senate is expected to take up the bill on Wednesday.
Notably, not a single lawmaker voted against the measure during the committee process.
If signed into law, the bill would take effect July 1.
The House companion (HB 991), meanwhile, awaits the Commerce Committee’s consideration on Wednesday.