TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Two bills before the Florida Legislature would make it a third-degree felony to possess or sell credit-card skimming devices in Florida.
In an effort to further crack down on card skimming, Florida lawmakers are using the bills to go after those who possess or sell skimming devices, according to a report in The Palm Beach Post. “These devices are designed to specifically collect and steal consumer data,” said state Sen. Jose Rodriguez, the sponsor of the state Senate bill that would make possessing or selling such devices a third-degree felony. “There is no other place in the market where you need a device like this.”
Rodriguez said the measure focuses on defining what makes a skimmer. “There are two parts to this legislation,” he said. “Part of it is to precisely and better define what is legal and what is illegal. The other part is criminalizing the sale of and use. There is no legitimate need for these skimming devices.” A similar bill is pending in the House.
Both the House and Senate bills have one more committee vote to clear before heading to the full chamber, perhaps as early as this week. Last year, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a requirement that gas stations have safety measures on pumps to prevent skimming.
James Miller, a representative of the Florida Retail Federation and the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, said the organizations “fully support any legislation that cracks down on gas-pump skimming devices, punishes those caught using them, and protects Floridians and visitors.”
While skimming is a national problem, Florida—with its high levels of tourists and more than 10,000 convenience stores—faces an inordinate amount of trouble with skimming. Miller said his organizations train c-store operators in how to identify potential scams and in security measures to prevent skimming.
Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives for NACS, said skimming tends to a be a problem because criminal groups come to an area and “work it” until they move on to another location. Florida, he said, is one of the areas that has more problems, perhaps because there is more of a transient population and newer neighborhoods.