By Dan Papineau // MIRA Director, Government Relations
Recently a pair of State Representatives introduced two separate but significantly similar pieces of legislation to combat the installation of skimmers in fuel dispensers. While this may seem like well-intentioned legislation, MIRA has major concerns.
“Skimmers” are devices placed by criminals inside a fuel dispenser’s credit card reader that can steal credit card information. The device copies card information for a criminal to retrieve later and use that data for purchases of their own. Dozens of skimmers have been removed from stations statewide.
With new regulation requiring fuel retailers to convert to EMV chip card technology by October of 2017, MIRA feels these pieces of legislation are premature. EMV chip card technology should eliminate the use of skimmers once installed. As every retailer knows, unless you want to be liable for false charges taking place at your store, you need to install EMV. Planning for EMV upgrades is going to be difficult enough on fuel retailers. Why muddy this transition with additional regulations?
Both pieces of legislation require fuel retailers to do one of the following to help prevent skimmers from being installed on a dispenser:
- Use security tape to restrict unauthorized access to a fuel pump
- Install a device or system that renders the pump or scanning device inoperable if the panel is opened without proper authorization
- Utilize a means for encrypting the customer payment card information in the scanning device.
- Any other measure approved by the Department of Agriculture.
If a fuel retailer does not comply with this mandate, they will receive written notification of noncompliance and have 5 days to come into compliance. If the violation is not corrected after 5 days, the pumps will be turned off until they come into compliance.
MIRA is working against this legislation. We have come to the position that this discussion should take place after the EMV activation deadline of October 2017 if credit card skimmers are still a problem (which they should not be). Additionally, our arguments against the bill are as follows:
- It adds another unfunded mandate on fuel retailers
- It treats the retailer like the criminal and does nothing to go after the real bad guys installing these skimming devices
- While the bill states the Department could add additional ways to comply at their discretion it does not specifically mention simply replacing the locks which is an inexpensive and reasonable option
- Security stickers, while they might seem minor to install, are much harder to keep up when you end up having to replace them every three days to replace your receipt role. Not to mention it will eventually take a messy toll on the dispenser.
MIRA will monitor this legislation closely and welcomes feedback from members on its content. If you have question, concerns, or comments please feel free to reach out to me.