MADISON (WKOW) — State lawmakers are working on a bill that would further protect your identity when using a gas pump or ATM.
Wisconsin is one of just 19 states that has nothing in statute specific to the possession or use of credit card skimmers.
That is a huge problem, because the devices have been found on gas pumps and ATM’s in at least three dozen communities across the state since 2015.
Two men from California were arrested last fall after installing at least 11 skimmers on gas pumps in Madison and on eight more in Rock County.
They are now awaiting trial.
In those case, police said the suspects fraudulently used stolen credit card numbers to make purchases.
But in cases where it can only be proven a suspect merely possessed or attached a skimming device, options for prosecutors are limited.
“Often, unless prosecutors can prove that information was stolen – I’ll say that again – prove that information was stolen, the accused criminal is simply cited for trespassing. Obviously, not much of an offense,” Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) told the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety at a public hearing on SB 133 Tuesday.
Sen. Cowles authored the legislation, which would make it a felony to possess a skimmer with the intent to commit identity theft; to give or sell a skimmer to someone else to commit identity theft; or to actually use a skimmer to try to commit identity theft – even if you’re unsuccessful.
All of those offenses would carry maximum prison sentences of three to six years.
The legislation would also exempt the owners or operators of gas pumps or ATM’s from any civil liability in such cases.
SB 133 has strong bipartisan support and is expected to pass both houses of the legislature.
Source: KWOW Television