Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried visited Hialeah Monday to try and fuel up support for legislation that amps up gas pump security and targets skimmers.
Since January, 251 skimmers have been uncovered at gas pumps across the state. Nearly half of those were in South Florida, totaling millions of dollars of fraud.
"Florida is always known for our beaches, weather, for Disney and for the mouse, but unfortunately, we’re also No. 1 when it comes to fraud," Fried said.
Fried said a million dollars were lost in fraud in 2018 and that gas pump skimmers are part of the big problem. Skimmers are doubling every single year.
The legislation would require additional security measures that include taking pumps and skimmers out of service
"Until it's actually been reinspected to make sure there's no skimmer or issues with the pump, it also requires the gas station to report skimmers or breaches of security within three days of being notified," Fried said.
The legislation, which failed to pass last year, is working through the State Senate this session. Meanwhile, thousands of pumps will continue to be inspected for skimmers and accuracy.
"Let me be very clear to you. I have a zero-tolerance for criminal activity," Fried said in a message to skimmers. "We will investigate, we will find you, and we will prosecute you."
There are a few things we can do as consumers at the pump to protect ourselves: Make sure there's no tampering or tape falling apart at the pump. Additionally, try jiggling the credit card machine to make sure it's stable.
It's also better to use pumps that are closer to the store, with more light and near more people.