SHAZAM Supports Tougher Penalties for Skimming


Across the country, financial institutions, local businesses and law enforcement are wrestling with the complex and costly problem of skimmers at point-of-sale terminals and ATMs. Skimmers violate a cardholder’s privacy, create fraud losses and destroy the public’s confidence in the use of their cards.

SHAZAM decided enough was enough and partnered with the merchant community and the Iowa Bankers Association to tackle the problem, starting in our home state of Iowa. We wanted to see greater penalties for anyone caught with card skimming or cloning equipment.

The prior version of Iowa’s law focused on catching someone actually using the devices to access card account information. This meant law enforcement couldn’t arrest those in possession of the equipment unless they caught them in the act. Criminalizing possession of this type of equipment is key to stopping fraudsters from getting their hands on PINs, account data and other personal information from ATMs, POS terminals and gas pumps.

We talked to legislative leaders, and gained their support for upping the penalties for criminals with skimming or cloning equipment. 

The result? Iowa law has been expanded to include the intent to obtain encoded information without permission. A person who violates this provision commits an aggravated misdemeanor with stiffer penalties.

This law is a good first step toward establishing penalties for possessing skimming equipment, but we won’t stop there. We’ll continue to monitor its impact and work with our legislators to enact stiffer penalties if necessary.

It’s not just Iowa that’s seeing changes. Lawmakers in other states are following suit — Missouri, Oklahoma and Minnesota, to name a few. Oftentimes, we’ve been there to offer our knowledge and support in crafting tougher penalties. We stand ready to do the same in any state where our clients see the need for deterrents in the fight against skimming.

This issue’s not going away anytime soon. It’s time for us to stand up and make a change. Take a leadership role in your organization, in your community and in your state to stop skimming.

About the Author

Mike Burke Photo

Mike Burke is a veteran law enforcement professional with experience in criminal justice instruction, homeland security and fraud investigation. He guides SHAZAM clients to enhance their security measures and ensure regulatory compliance.


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