State Toughens Criminal Penalties on Use of Skimmers

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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.

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