Texas leads the nation in thefts related to credit card skimmers at gas pumps, but a bill just signed into law will speed up the investigation process.
Skimming through the data shows this is a crime trend that’s not just a big problem in the state.
“The Coastal Bend is no stranger to credit card skimming,” said Chief of Police, Eric Blanchard, with the Aransas Pass Police Department.
Most of the skimmers are found at gas stations and are placed there by criminals looking to steal your card information.
“They make devices that are really small and capable of holding a large amount of data,” said Chief Blanchard.
The bill signed into law by Governor Abbott last week eliminates some of the red tape involved when reporting these types of crimes.
For example, if the skimming happens to you out of town or out of the county, it currently means a lot of leg work for the victim.
“To make the victim track down all these locations, learn the laws in all these different areas, and then file the reports, it’s just unreasonable,” said Chief Blanchard.
Now the process will be streamlined, making it easier to report and prosecute credit card skimming.
The passage of this bill also means, “if the victim resides within our community, the responsibility will lie on us to investigate it no matter where their information is used,” said Chief Blanchard.
The new law goes into effect on September 1, 2019. Two other related pieces of legislation are also on the governor’s desk waiting for his signature.
One would create a payment fraud fusion center, allowing law enforcement to investigate and collect data for these types of crimes. Plus, gas stations are required to report any crimes to the fusion center.
The other bill would amend the penalty for criminals who are caught with multiple counterfeit cards. Under the bill, a new offense would be created for credit card skimming crimes, ranging from a third through a first degree felony.