Wisconsin lawmakers propose card skimmer crackdown

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) The fight against credit card skimmers continues but a newly proposed bill could give law enforcement a little more help.

Skimmer on a gas pump credit card reader

A credit card skimmer is a device that can be placed on a card reader at a gas pump or ATM to gather credit card information without permission.

Lieutenant Rick Belanger, with the Green Bay Police Department, said catching people responsible for stealing people's information through credit card skimmers is an endless battle, but convicting them can be even tougher.

“We had some difficulty finding a law that applied to somebody attaching something on a gas pump or on someone else's property -- initially it would be a simple trespassing citation or trespassing violation,” said Belanger.

In many cases, it takes police searching a suspect’s computer and finding evidence that they stole personal information, including victim’s accounts and credit card numbers.

However, Belanger said sometimes they don't have that evidence so that is why he supports Senator Robert Cowles and Representative Rob Summerfield's latest bill that would make possessing a card skimmer with the intent to steal people's identity punishable by up to three and a half years in prison.

It would also make possessing the device to use or give to someone else punishable up to 6 years in prison and gaining anything of value through a skimmer punishable up to 10 years in prison.

“It gives law enforcement a much better chance of getting an arrest, getting some conviction and holding people accountable for their actions,” said Belanger.

Ways to protect yourself from card skimmers:

• Use well-lit gas stations
• Pay inside the gas station
• If you pay outside, make a credit transaction instead of a debit transaction so you don’t have to type in your pin number
• Look for damage or anything that looks out of place near card reader on gas pump
• Make sure the tape around the card reader door is intact
• Check bank statements for any unauthorized payments
• If you suspect anything suspicious, call police.

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