Tampa folks: Watch out for advanced credit card skimmers at the gas pumps!

make sure the security seal isn't broken

If you’re paying at the gas pump in Tampa, be aware that advanced credit/debit card skimmers have been found on pumps at the following Shell/Circle K stations in South Tampa:

4015 S. Westshore Blvd.

6416 S. Dale Mabry Highway

3650 S. Dale Mabry Highway

Unlike the skimmers that we’re often told to look out for — the type that are attached on top of an ATM’s or gas pump’s credit/debit card slot — these ones were installed internally, which eliminated most of the tell-tale signs of physical tampering and alteration. Whoever installed these skimmers used a master key to access the pumps’ internals and connect them directly to the pump’s computer. There’d be none of the usual warning signs, such as a dangling wire or damage around the slot where you’d insert your card. The one sign is a broken seal on the pump (see the photo at the top of this article for a photo of an intact seal).

Here’s the story on Tampa Bay Online.

If you’re paying at the pump in Tampa (or anywhere else, for that matter):

  • Take a good look at the card reader and the seal. If either seem damaged, don’t pay at the pump.
  • Favor using a credit card over a debit card. Credit cards leave a better paper trail, let you contest individual payments, and don’t give thieves access to your bank account.
  • Try to use a pump that’s in line-of-sight of the attendant. Thieves are less likely to tamper with a pump in plain view of a gas station employee. Keep in mind that most gas station employees are just marking time until their break, so don’t count on their vigilance.
  • If you want to play it really safe, pay inside the store…and with cash.

Recommended Reading

Thanks to Sean Galbraith for the heads-up!


Sign of the Day

do not feed or molest

Im most places, “do not molest the alligators” is a self-evident thing, but this is Florida. I’m pretty sure that alligator molesters are a rare breed, as it’s a self-correcting problem.


Calgary fertility clinic will only help make “purebred” babies, and why purebred dogs are the worst

dr. clavin greene

Dr. Calvin Greene (artist’s conception above) of Calgary’s Regional Fertility Program — the only facility of its sort in the Calgary area — put the clinic in a storm of controversy over his refusal to help a woman become impregnated with sperm from a donor who didn’t share her skin color. He’s got a quote that pretty much has all the “tells” of the sort of person we’re dealing with:

“I’m not sure that we should be creating rainbow families just because some single woman decides that that’s what she wants. That’s her prerogative, but that’s not her prerogative in our clinic.”

In an interview with the Calgary Herald last week, Dr. Greene said last week that the policy against mixing races had been in effect since the 1980s and he believes it is better to raise children who resemble their parents, and if I’m parsing his statement above correctly, those parents should resemble each other.

The fertility clinic has countered by saying that they ended their policy waaaay back…oh, correction: make that a year ago. You know, in 2013, almost a half-century after the last laws against interracial marriage were struck down in the U.S..

As a healthy (indirect) product of a mixed-race marriage — my great-grandfather is James O’Hara from Dayton, Ohio — and being about to enter a mixed-race marriage myself, Dr. Greene’s views seem cartoonish, rooted in nonsense, and in complete opposition to what we know about the genetics of all sorts of creatures, including Man’s Best Fried:

purebred - inbred

I’ll close with this “Adam Ruins Everything” video, in which he explains why purebred dogs are the worst:


WHAT flavor potato chips?

lays capuccino chips

I like coffee, and I like potato chips, but I can’t imagine a combo of the two tasting very good.


Whenever I see people here complaining about the heat, this is what I think

I’m enjoying it here in Florida, and yes, when I think this, I hear Tom Hardy’s voice as Bane in my head:

you merely adopted tropical climate

Here’s the relevant clip from The Dark Knight Rises:


Naked thieves steal burgers and bacon from Florida (of course) restaurant; leave behind trail of red peppers and smitten waitresses

police search for naked bandits

definitely florida

Before you get all high-and-mighty and point your finger and say “Florida” with your derisive sneer, let me say two things:

  • First, who among you hasn’t wanted to get naked and make off with free burgers and bacon?
  • Second, and more importantly: I have an alibi.

naked burger thieves 3

Two Sundays ago, a trio of college-age men — two in underwear, and one au naturel — broke into a restaurant in Bonita Springs known as Doc’s Beach House. Instead of going for the cash register or money, they rummaged through the kitchen and they made off with 60 burgers, a few pounds of bacon and some fixings. According to police, the three men “left a trail of red peppers on the beach”.

naked burger thieves 2

Doc’s Beach House had two surveillance cameras with night vision capability, so they were able to capture video of the caper. It would appear that while two of the men started their heist in underwear, at some point they decided to let it all hang out and stripped nude.

naked burger thieves 1

“No one in their normal state of mind is going to break into a restaurant half-naked and leave naked with a bunch of hamburger meat,” said a police spokesperson, clearly forgetting that this is Florida, where no idea is a bad one.

naked burger thieves 5

At one point during the robbery, one of the guys noticed the camera and repositioned it away from their antics, not realizing that there was another camera capturing their every naked move. Night vision security cameras use LED bulbs that project ultraviolet light that’s invisible to the naked eye, but quite bright when viewed through something like a good digital camera.

naked burger thieves 4

The nude dudes seem to have left an impression on the waitresses at the restaurant. Lou Bangert, the manager, told the press that his waitresses “want to meet the bandits. Everybody wants to work the night shift now.”

Here’s a local news report:

And for perspective, a map of Florida:

florida map


T-shirt of the day

This one’s for fans of both Star Wars and Game of Thrones:

hands off my sister