Last month, the local news reported that Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service, conducted a state wide sweep of over 6,000 gas stations as part of an identity theft investigation. A total of 103 gas stations across Florida were discovered to have credit/debit card skimmers attached to their pumps. Eleven of those gas station were in Palm Beach County, in areas such as Boynton, Tequesta, Jupiter and Wellington.
Investigators say there’s no foolproof way to identify a gas pump that’s been rigged with a skimmer, but have found thieves often place skimmers on pumps further away from the store so they are not noticed as quickly. As customers, some of the ways you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of the scam is to pay in cash, use the gas pumps closer to the front of the store, and check to make sure the gas pump dispenser cabinet is closed and has not been tampered with. Also, check your bank statements for any suspicious activity.
Another more serious and dangerous crime that is taken place at gas stations, includes what is commonly known as “carjacking”. Criminals are placing a single piece of paper on the back window and in some cases attaching strung up cans or bottles to the bumper of the unattended vehicles. The purpose for this is to get the unsuspected driver’s attention and have them exit the vehicle to investigate and at that moment, the carjacker will appear out of nowhere and jump into the vehicle in hopes of driving off. In some cases, the owner of the vehicle have been run over and/or dragged several feet sustaining various injuries. Investigators say women are more likely to be targeted by carjackers because of the potential valuables inside of their purses such as cash, credit cards and other personal information, which are left inside the vehicle during the incident. If you find yourself in any of these scenarios, Investigators suggest that you do not exit your vehicle to investigate until you have left the area. Take the vehicle’s key with you when you exit the vehicle, do not leave the vehicle running.
It is often said, “That the more you know, the more it helps”. This information is intended to make you all aware of the potential threats and criminal activity in our area. Your safety outside of PGA National is important to us as well. Remember to secure your vehicle when not in use, never leave valuables in your vehicle in plain sight, secure your home and set your alarm before leaving. You are always encouraged to report all suspicious vehicles, person(s), and activity and never hesitate to call security at 627-1600. Any information on the person(s) involved or vehicle description will be helpful.