Lee County commissioners will vote to crackdown on gas skimmers

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A motorist replaces the gas pump after filling her car at a Shell station. Photo via CBS.
A motorist replaces the gas pump after filling her car at a Shell station. Photo via CBS.

Holding gas stations accountable if you are ripped off at the pump.

Lee County is finally taking action to ensure your money, safety and security from gas pump skimmers.

The commissioners told WINK News the process takes time to resolve. At the beginning of the year, they saw the spike in gas station skimmers compared to 2017. They asked staff to develop an ordinance and that is what they will vote on next week.

Gas skimmers are a problem nationwide, in Florida and Lee County. Nina Gilbert, who has been scammed around $100 twice in the last month, said the ordeal had been nothing but a headache.

“It’s stressful to then calling the bank, do the investigation, do the claim process, then wait for your money,” Gilbert said. “I mean, with Capital One, they’re telling me it’s going to be 30 to 60 days.”

Over in south Fort Myers, Christina Flanagan said her family had suffered the same fate. She was planning on going on a vacation the next day, so she filled up the gas tank on her car.

“While we’re on vacation,” Flanagan said, “my husband woke up checked his Wells Fargo app and noticed there was $100 charge at a Fort Myers 7-Eleven.”

Since 2017, Lee County leaders said they had discovered 43 skimmers, but the victims of these financial crimes are unknown. Worse, there have been no arrests.

Brian Hamman, a Lee County commissioner, directed his staff in February to fix the issue. Tuesday, they will vote on the new law he predicts will pass.

Hamman attributes the wait to thoroughly vetting the issue to understand the pros and cons that will come with the new law.

Cape Coral put its gas skimmer ordinance in place more than a year ago. Since then, Cape Coral Police Department said they had found no skimmers. It attributes the success to specialized locks with anti-theft stickers over them.

Regardless, Flanagan said she would get gas the old fashioned way.

“I go inside and pay cash now,” Flanagan said. “I don’t want to use my card.”

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