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Column

Cracking down on skimmers and spoofers

Have you ever found unexpected and unexplained charges on your credit card or debit card? You are not alone.

Criminals use technology to steal payment card information. They can access your cards remotely through your clothes, wallet or purse, or place nearly undetectable devices on gas pumps and other card readers that steal your information. Your card information can even be transferred to another card for the thieves to use later.

House File 2199 enhances the penalty and updates Iowa’s law on illegal use of skimming devices. The bill makes it a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison to use a scanning device to take payment card information without authorization, or to use an encoding machine to transfer information from one card to another.

It would be an aggravated misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison to possess a scanning device with the intent to use it to obtain payment card information without authorization.

HF 2199 has been sent to the Governor for her signature.

In other consumer protection legislation,Senate File 2243 makes it illegal to use false or misleading caller ID information to telephone Iowans. This will strengthen laws on “spoofing,” where a caller sets up a fake name, area code and telephone number, frequently with the same area code and prefix as the customer. This encourages you to answer what looks like a local call. The “spoofer” may try to sell products or services or get personal information from you. A violation will be an unlawful practice under Iowa’s Consumer Fraud laws.

SF 2243 passed the Senate and is now under consideration in the House.

Contact Allen at 641-521-6297 or chaz.allen@legis.iowa.gov

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