Gas skimmers

A gas pump with a skimmer installed.

Days before Punta Gorda’s ordinance related to preventing credit card skimmers goes into effect, two skimmers were located at the Mobil/Circle K gas station at 3949 Tamiami Trail.

According to a press release from the Punta Gorda Police Department, the devices were found by pump technicians during a routine maintenance check of the pumps at the location. Police collected the devices, and an investigation is ongoing.

PGPD Spokesperson Lt. Dylan Renz said the police department has no way of knowing whether any customers’ information was compromised.

“Quite often, once we locate them, it means that nobody’s information was compromised,” he said. “If it’s stored, which oftentimes they are, on the device themselves, the people don’t have access to them until they come pick them up.”

However, some skimmers can send information remotely.

“There’s a lot of variables that go into it,” Renz said. “It’s very possible no one’s information was compromised, but we can’t guarantee.”

The last skimmer found within the city was at the same gas station, which Renz said may be a target because it’s the nearest to the interstate.

On Sunday, a city ordinance goes into effect requiring all gas stations to implement a secondary lock on all gas pumps, have a location-specific key for each gas station instead of a master key, or have an internal device preventing skimming devices to be utilized.

The police department will begin making compliance checks next week. After that, Punta Gorda Code Compliance will make periodic checks to ensure the stations stay in compliance.

“The initial inspection is to make sure all stations are in compliance, and once they are, the pumps will be more secure,” Renz said.

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