More gas pump skimmers are turning up at Florida service stations than ever before.
State officials say they have found 315 of the credit and debit card information stealing devices across Florida so far this year, compared to just 120 found in the first seven months of 2016.
Skimmers were much easier to spot in the past because they were installed on the gas pump card slot. Now, thieves have a key to open the cover on the pump so they can install the privacy invading device inside the pump, out of view.
On average, each skimmer is able to collect names, numbers, and expiration dates that allow criminals to steal $1000 before the theft is discovered and the card discontinued.
State officials say Palm Beach County is where the highest concentration of electronic gas pump skimmers is found, which 58 in the first seven month of 2017. Broward County is second with 57 and Miami-Dade County third with 26.
Officials say the best way to avoid becoming a victim is to just pay inside the store. If you must pay at the pump, pick one that is closest to the store where the clerk can see it.
Thieves prefer installing devices farthest from the building and on the far side of the pump island.