A series of new state laws could soon make it difficult for consumers to find out which gas stations in Texas have been hit with hidden credit card skimmers.
For years, the Texas Department of Agriculture has released warnings about gas stations where someone had attached a skimmer to steal credit card information, but new laws (HB2945 and SB2119) will limited who can get the reports.
"If we find a skimmer, we can’t report it to anybody but the police. We can’t let the public know," Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said in an interview with KPRC-TV.
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State lawmakers hoped the laws would help tackle the rising problem of gas pump credit card skimmers.
"Banks are reporting that Texas represents 42% of loss suffered by their institutions nationwide," Rep. Mary Ann Perez said in a Legislative Report. "In Texas, it is difficult to find a room of individuals where at least 75% of them have not fallen victim to this crime."
HB2945 gives authority to the State Attorney General to set up a system to help police coordinate skimmer investigations. It also requires gas stations to report skimmers the find within 24 hours. But, law enforcement agencies are no longer allowed to share the names of the businesses with anyone other than the Attorney General’s office.
SB2119 switches authority to regulate gas pumps from the Texas Department of Agriculture to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. It too bars the release of the location of the skimmers.