Pennsylvania Increases Consumer Protections, Criminalizes Skimmer Device Possession and Use

June 28, 2018

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation to reduce fraud and increase consumer protections by increasing penalties for the possession and use of a skimmer device, as well as transferring stolen information, making it a felony for the first offense. House Bill 1918 updates the crime code to establish the crime of possession and use of skimmer devices.

“Skimmer devices and fraudulent activity costs retailers billions and make consumers feel uneasy about transactions,” said Governor Wolf. “This important legislation will help to increase protections for Pennsylvanians.”

House Bill 1918 updates the crime code to establish the crime of possession and use of skimmer devices. Skimmers are malicious card readers that illegally gather data from a credit or debit card’s magnetic strip. Skimmers can be placed over or even inside authentic card readers which allow criminals to steal credit or debit card data by reading the information contained on the card when it is swiped or inserted. Devices are often combined with a concealed camera that can also record Personal Identification Numbers (PIN).

This legislation accompanies the administration’s collaborative efforts through the Department of Banking and Securities, State Police, Department of Agriculture, and the Office of the Attorney General to educate consumers, business owners, law enforcement, and gas pump inspectors statewide on the dangers of card skimmers.

The Department of Agriculture inspects gas pumps on an annual or as needed basis, and its inspectors are trained to recognize skimmers. If and when one is found, the inspector will notify the appropriate authorities and cooperate with investigations upon request.

The Pennsylvania State Police and its local law enforcement partners work diligently to respond to instances of credit card skimming and other types of fraud. Information gathered in individual cases may reveal larger trends, which can help law enforcement better allocate resources to prevent these types of crimes as skimming devices become more sophisticated.

If you believe you’ve been scammed, call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-441-2555 or e-mail at

Today, the governor also signed House Bill 1644, House Bill 1738, House Bill 1782, House Bill 1898, House Bill 2067, House Bill 17, House Bill 152, House Bill 159, House Bill 594, House Bill 824, House Bill 994, House Bill 1124, House Bill 1232, Senate Bill 431, Senate Bill 499, Senate

Bill 564, Senate Bill 817, Senate Bill 892, Senate Bill 934, Senate Bill 978, Senate Bill 1002, Senate Bill 1037, Senate Bill 1056, Senate Bill 1091, Senate Bill 1101, and Senate Bill 552.

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