State Toughens Criminal Penalties on Use of Skimmers


Gov. Rick Snyder has signed five state laws this week to toughen the criminal penalties for those using “skimmers,” devices attached to ATMs to steal consumers’ financial information, including a five-year sentence for first-time offenders.

The gadgets record information off ATMs cards and capture PIN numbers used to make transactions. Snyder says “skimming” from ATMs is a growing problem.

“These devices are used to steal from others, and we need to crack down on this problem to help protect Michiganders,” Snyder said. “This is a bipartisan package of bills approved unanimously, showing the united commitment to fighting this growing issue.”

The five-bill package creates increased criminal penalties relating to the use of a “skimmer” device, including the five-year prison sentence for a first offense for those convicted of using a “skimmer.” The sentence increases to 15 years for a third offense. Other laws increase the penalties for those using personal information from a transaction without consent and a law that makes selling or possessing a “skimming” device a felony.

Another bill that was signed this week allows a security freeze on a protected consumer’s credit report under certain conditions. A protected consumer is defined as a child under the age of 16, an incapacitated person, or a person under the care of a guardian or conservator. The intent is to prevent loans, credit, or other services from being fraudulently carried out in the protected consumer’s name.