WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Credit card skimming is rapidly on the rise across the state of Florida, and Contact 5 found South Florida is ground zero.
According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, inspectors found 169 skimmers in 2015, 219 skimmers in 2016 and tripled to 655 skimmers in 2017.
(Keep scrolling to see where gas station skimmers were found in your area.)
Inspectors have recovered 539 skimmers in just the first six months of 2018, putting Florida on track for over 1,000 skimmers this year alone.
Our data shows more than half of the skimming devices were found in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Protecting your wallet
Protect yourself at the pump by picking a pump close to the clerk window, since police say thieves are more likely to install skimmers on pumps that cannot be seen by the gas station clerk.
Officials also encourage you to check the card reader by wiggling it. If something does not look or feel right, move on to the next one.
Buy gas with a credit card instead of a debit card, so you can stop fraudulent charges before you lose money.
According to the Texas Department of Agriculture, you can check for skimmers using your cellphone’s Bluetooth capabilities. If you see a long string of numbers and letters trying to connect, it could be a sign a skimmer is at the pump.
When in doubt, pay for gas with cash.
Use the map below to see where state inspectors have uncovered skimming devices so far in 2018. (This does not include skimming devices reported to local law enforcement agencies.)