Gov. Scott signs skimmer bill

- A proposal to crack down on people using electronic "skimmers" to steal credit-card or debit-card information at gas pumps was among several bills signed into law Friday by Gov. Rick Scott.

The skimmer measure (SB 912), backed by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and the Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, will increase penalties for people holding counterfeit credit-card information starting Oct. 1.

"Increasing the penalties against individuals involved in the theft of fuel and requiring gasoline pumps to install advance security measures will assist in deterring this criminal activity that raises costs for all consumers," Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, said in a prepared statement.

Ned Bowman, executive director of the Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, said the new law will protect "all of us from being victims of gas pump skimmer fraud."

The proposal, sponsored in the House by Majority Leader Dana Young, R-Tampa, requires gas-station owners to use additional security measures on self-service pumps. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services may also prohibit the use of fuel pumps until such security measures are installed.

Putnam's office has noted that more than 190 skimmers have been found statewide since the beginning of 2015.

"Approximately 100 consumers are victimized by each skimmer, resulting in $1,000 stolen from each victim on average," Putnam's office said after the House approved the bill March 8. "Each skimmer represents an estimated $100,000 threat to consumers."

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