80 credit and debit card skimmers found at Florida gas stations

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HOUSTON, TX - Credit or debit?  It doesn't matter because crooks will steal them both.  Inspectors in Florida found 80 skimming devices at gas stations.   The skimmers were illegally installed at pumps throughout Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Suwannee County, and were used to steal customers' credit and mostly debit card information.

Because skimming devices can be placed very quickly on the card reader, agents with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said it is difficult to find the culprits.

And you're probably wondering what's going on around the Houston-area.  A few months ago, Texas City police found skimmers placed on gas pumps.  At least eight people reported having their identity stolen.  Before that, similar devices were found in Conroe.

"We have a security tape on our pumps", said Rick White, owner of Meyerland Service Station, at the corner of Beechnut street and Chimney Rock road in Southwest Houston.  "We check our security tape every three days.  They'll need a key to install a skimmer inside the pump: that's the only way."

So, what to do?  How can we prevent our identity from being stolen at a gas station?

"Always go to the name brand stations," said White, "and always check for the tape."

Also, check the area before you insert your card, go inside the store and pay directly to the cashier or, better yet, pray for the safety of your plastic.  That's sound financial advise.  The last thing you want to leave at the pump is your identity.