Senate Republicans Vote Against Protecting Consumers from Gas Station Card Skimmers

GOP senators side with business rather than consumers

(Madison)—Senate Republicans voted against an amendment to Senate Bill 133 introduced by State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) that would have protected consumers from having their credit and debit card information stolen by gas station card skimmers.  Hansen’s amendment was fashioned after a City of Madison ordinance that requires each commercial gas pump to be secured by a separate and unique lock and key.


“In August of last year 12 card skimmers were found inside gas pumps in Madison.  Since the ordinance went into place no skimmers have been found,” said Hansen.  “If it can work in Madison it can work around the state.  But Senate Republicans voted lock-step to protect the profits of business owners rather than the bank accounts of consumers.”


For about $4 a person can buy a universal key on the internet that unlocks most gas pumps.  Once they get access to a gas pump they can insert a card skimmer in about as much time as it takes to fill up their car.  In those cases around Wisconsin where arrests were made the perpetrators were not from Wisconsin.


“Card skimming is a crime of opportunity.  The people who’ve been arrested aren’t deterred by the penalty because they see so much opportunity with relatively low risk.  By making it more difficult for them to access a gas pump we can take that opportunity away and protect consumers from this type of crime.  It doesn’t seem unreasonable to require gas station operators to take this small step to protect their customers.”


Hansen said it also protects taxpayers because it currently costs over $30,000 a day to incarcerate someone.  Every card skimming crime that is prevented would save taxpayers.


“If I had my credit card information stolen in this way I’d be mad.  I’d be mad at the creep who took my money.  I’d be mad at the owner for not protecting me.  And I’d be mad at any politician who knew that this crime could be prevented simply by requiring each pump to have its own lock but voted against making that the law.”


SB-133 increases penalties from those who engage in card skimming.