PALM COAST, Fla. – The Flagler County Sheriff's Office said several skimming devices were found on fuel pumps at different gas stations in Palm Coast on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Florida Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the Sheriff's Office, are inspecting all gas pumps in search of skimming devices, deputies said.
Consumer protection specialist Joseph Scobbo Jr. of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services notified the Sheriff's Office after receiving a complaint about an unauthorized purchase from a fuel pump at the Kangaroo Express at 1201 Palm Harbor Parkway in Palm Coast, the Sheriff's Office said.
Scobbo discovered the security tape on all of the fuels pumps had been compromised. The Sheriff's Office said he found two credit card Bluetooth skimming devices.
The Florida Department of Agriculture has begun conducting routing gas pump checks throughout Palm Coast because of the rising number of gas pumps containing skimming devices. The Sheriff's Office said in doing so, Scobbo found additional devices at the 7-Eleven at 220 A Palm Coast Parkway, the BP gas station at 1755 Palm Harbor Parkway and the Shell gas station at 320 Palm Coast Parkway NE.
"If you have utilized any of these four gas stations in Palm Coast or any gas station, it is imperative that you check your bank card or credit card statement to make sure you do not have fraudulent charges on your account," Sheriff Rick Staly said. "If you notice anything suspicious, you should contact your bank or credit card company immediately."
The Sheriff's Office said take a close look at the gas pump before inserting a credit card to prevent being the victim of credit card skimming. If anything looks loose or cracked, or like a device has been added to the card reader, do not use the pump.
When possible, choose the pumps closest to the store. The Sheriff's Office said crooks often choose pumps that aren't in the direct line of sight to the gas station's employees.
The Sheriff's Office also recommends using credit cards rather than debit cards that require a PIN, adding that credit cards have better fraud protection and the money is not deducted immediately from an account.
For the most protection, the Sheriff's Office said to pay cash inside of the store.