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Iowa Senate Pass Bills to Crackdown Card Skimmers on Gas Pump and ATM

Over the years, credit and debit card skimmers have increased with the exploitation of ATM loopholes to obtain card information. They normally do this to offer the obtained credit card information for sale on the Darknet, or they use them for illegal withdrawals. This operation has caused lawmakers to pass a bill that will see convicted skimmers spend up to 5 years in jail. The authorities finalized this on Thursday and came out with the best regulation that will seek to scare away skimmers and control their rampant operation.

The current law states that any individual who uses a scanning device to obtain information from a person’s ATM commits a class D felony. The current law also demands prosecutors to prove very well that individuals have the intention to defraud the authorized user, the issuer of the authorized user’s payment card, or a merchant. Brad Zaun, a state senator, R-Urbandale, and the bill’s floor manager said that he met with experts to learn with surprise about the tactics used in skimming people.Darknet marketplaces have cheap software available. An ATM skimming tool circulated on the Darknet last year also posed a security threat.

Authorities explained that skimmers purchase a smaller sized device online that is capable of monitoring and storing information without the knowledge of the victims. These devices are then attached to payment terminals to store all the needed data for the skimmer to access them. Victims only get to know about this after a transfer is made from their account. Also, skimmers sometimes use the card information to directly make purchases online. This form of fraud has driven the local government to put an end to it once and for all; however, only time will tell whether it will have any impact. The bill seeks to expand the crime of third-degree criminal mischief.

The bill is now waiting to be signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds after it was voted unanimously by State Senators 49-0. The many hacking options at the disposal of skimmers are vast, and even though the bill cannot totally eradicate the operation of skimmers, it can control it to some degree. Some culprits have also been exposed to use fake keypads to capture the pin of credit card users as they enter them in the payment machine. Detective Maurio Coleman with the Clive Police Department said: “Once it goes through there, it’s stored onto that skimmer device and then the bad guys come back, usually because the things are Bluetooth.”

The law also seeks to ensure that a person cannot possess any scanning device with the intention to obtain any information from credit cards and any other form of payment cards without the authority of the owner. This will ensure that credit card owners stay safe and secured regardless of where their money is saved. However, the implementation of the law does not mean that individuals should be careless with their sensitive data or expose their ATM card numbers to fraudsters.

Bob Turner, the chief information security officer at UW-Madison said that there are many statutes that need change. “There are a lot of statutes on theft and fraud that do have to be modernized to take care of the current reality of the way the cyber warfare game is played,” he said. The implementation of this legislation will not only control skimmers operations but will create the safe environment for people to make a living. In the light of this law, other states will likely follow the steps to make their statutes fit the current reality of the cybercrime warfare game. Authorities have become very alert not only on skimmers but all other areas of illegal activities. An Iowa man was recently arrested for selling drugs to college students.

According to sources, “the legislation is supported by the Iowa County Attorneys Association, Iowa State Sheriffs & Deputies Association; Kum & Go stores, Kwik Trip Inc., the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, the Iowa Bankers Association, the Iowa Retail Federation and the Iowa Association of Business and Industry.”

This move is a relief, and authorities should ensure that skimmers are chased with whatever means to subject them under the law. The Iowa state authorities have also ensured that the right measures will be put in place to make their goals achievable.

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