Bills of Note: Credit Card Skimmers

Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) and Rep. Rob Summerfield (R-Bloomer) recently introduced a bill (SB 133/AB 196) that would criminalize credit card skimmers in Wisconsin. Credit card skimmers are small electronic devices that can be attached to card readers or ATMs that collect credit card information and lead to identity theft.

The bill makes it a felony to use or possess a credit card skimmer. The bill also creates a civil liability exemption for fuel pump and ATM owners whose machines have been illegally installed with credit card skimmers. Thirty-one states have enacted similar penalties for the possession and use of credit card skimmers.

The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety held a hearing on SB 133 on March 9. The Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association, Badger State Sheriffs Association, the Association of State Prosecutors, the U.S. Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, the Department of Justice and others registered in favor of the bill. No parties testified against the bill. In executive session on May 11, the Senate committee unanimously recommended the bill for passage. The Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety also held a hearing for the bill on May 18 and is expected to vote on the bill in the upcoming weeks.