New task force in Florida to start cracking down on gas skimmers

Florida's agricultural commissioner is stepping in to help crack down on gas skimmers by announcing a new, statewide task force.

Officials say skimmers are nearly impossible to spot since they can be hidden deep inside the gas pumps and criminals are getting more high-tech.

Skimmers can be simple devices that clamp onto internal wiring that criminals have to later retrieve, or they can be more sophisticated Bluetooth devices that transmit stolen credit card data. 

That's why a new state wide task force is aiming to crack down on the people behind these credit card data thefts at the pump. 

A new state law is also in the works that would toughen penalties for perpetrators caught using the devices.

Nikki Fried, the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, says she has been a victim of skimmers in the past. 

"It's an inconvenience to consumers. It is something that is taking money out of consumers' pockets. I know that personally, I have had my credit cards shut down three times because of something like this down in South Florida. It's something we all need to be working together to solve."

Some ways experts say you can avoid being scammed at the pump are to pay inside with cash or credit, choose gas pumps closest to the physical building and avoid pumps that have tamper-evident security tape cut or removed

In the past year, officials say more than 1,200 skimmers have been found at gas stations around Florida, each one with the potential to rack up one million dollars in fraudulent charges.