Iowa House or Reps takes on Skimmers

DES MOINES ? To deal with a fivefold increase in cases of skimming devices being placed on ATMs and fuel pumps to steal credit card information, the Iowa House has approved language to make it easier to prosecute those crimes.

House File 2199 was approved 97-0 Tuesday to clarify intent to defraud language bill manager Rep. Zach Nunn, R-Bondurant, said made it ?nearly impossible to prosecute the last 32 charges of fraudulent skimmers in the past decade.?

Skimmers are scanning devices attached to payment terminals to harvest data from every card that?s swiped. The information, whether it is manually removed from the ATM or fuel pump or retrieved though a Bluetooth connection, can be used to clone the card or break into bank accounts.

Use of skimmers has exploded in recent years, Nunn said. The 32 charges filed have resulted in seven convictions. He called it unacceptable that ?criminals are more effective using the technology than our attempts to safeguard it.?

The bill also removes the requirement that anyone using a scanner have the intent to defraud the card user, issuer, or merchant.

The full extent of skimming is not known because it is reported to local authorities and there is no central tracking, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores. The association estimates 37 million Americans refuel each day with 29 million paying with a credit or debit card. A single compromised pump can capture data from as many as 100 cards a day.

During the first six months of 2017, the number of compromised fuel pumps and ATMs jumped more than 20 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to FICO, an analytics software company. That comes on the heels of a 30 percent increase in compromised devices from 2015 to 2016, and a 70 percent increase in compromised cards during the same time periods, FICO reported.

The bill, similar to similar to Senate Study Bill 3024, was supported by convenience stores, bankers, business groups and county attorneys. No lobbyists were registered in opposition.