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Aside arrow Volusia County Sheriff's Office Teams Up With State To Combat Credit Card Skimming
March 6, 2017 12:30 pm

Gary Davidson
Public Information Officer

SHERIFF’S OFFICE TEAMS UP WITH STATE TO STOP CREDIT CARD SKIMMING

The good news is that recent spot checks didn’t turn up any credit card skimmers at gas pumps in Volusia County. But residents should still be alert, because they never know when one of those devious devices designed to steal credit card information will pop up.

And that’s why the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office recently teamed up with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to inspect gas pumps in an operation last week that swept across the county. Volusia was one of several counties in Florida where random gas pump inspections were recently conducted as part of a statewide initiative spearheaded by Agriculture and Consumer Services. The goal was two-fold -- part enforcement and part consumer education, according to Sheriff Mike Chitwood. “We’re using all of the resources at our disposal to stay ahead of crime trends and protect our residents and visitors,” said Sheriff Chitwood. “We’re going to continue working with the state and our other law enforcement partners to try to put an end to these scams that are victimizing the public.”

Statewide, fuel pumps at nearly 500 gas stations in popular Spring Break destinations such as Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Panama City and West Palm Beach were inspected. Here in Volusia County, digital forensics detectives from the Sheriff’s Office teamed up with state specialists to conduct the inspections. The statewide initiative turned up eight skimmers, none in Volusia County. However, over the past year, approximately a half-dozen skimmers have been found on gas pumps in Volusia County. Skimmers typically are small devices that fit over the existing card reader at a gas pump. The phony devices can be hard to detect and closely resemble the real ones. In some cases, they’re installed inside a gas pump where they’re not visible to the customer. When a credit card is swiped through the card reader, the skimmer steals the account data from the magnetic strip on the back of the card. With the account data, a thief has everything needed to rack up charges on the victim’s account. “We will continue to crack down on these devices – and the criminals responsible for them,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam in a news release announcing the results of the statewide operation.

Sheriff Chitwood, meanwhile, said a big part of the eradication effort involves educating residents about how to protect themselves and recognize signs that a gas pump may have been tampered with. Here are some safety tips from the Sheriff’s Office that residents should keep in mind when they gas up their vehicles:

  • Before swiping your card, inspect the gas pump for any obvious signs of tampering or signs of an attachment. Be suspicious if anything looks crooked, loose or damaged. If something doesn’t look right, don’t use the pump.
  • Wiggle everything to see if anything moves when you push at it. Gas pumps are solidly constructed and generally don’t have any loose parts.
  • Pull on the card reader to make sure it’s securely attached.
  • Check to make sure that the tamper sticker is intact.
  • Check for signs of adhesive or tape residue.
  • Avoid gas stations that don’t have a high volume of traffic. Criminals usually will target locations that aren’t busy to avoid being seen installing the skimmer device.
  • Use a gas pump close to the front of the store. Thieves often place skimmers on gas pumps farther away from the store because they’re less likely to be seen doing it.
  • If your card isn’t returned after the transaction or after hitting the cancel button, immediately contact the financial institution that issued the card.

Of course, the best way to prevent a credit or bank card from being compromised is to pay cash inside the store.

Volusia County Sheriff's Office

Administrative offices: West Volusia 386-736-5961 Daytona Beach 386-254-4689 New Smyrna Beach 386-423-3352

Non-emergency dispatch numbers: DeLand 386-943-8276 Daytona Beach 386-239-8276 New Smyrna Beach 386-409-8276 Osteen 407-323-0151

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