TAMPA, FL (December 4, 2019) – As reported by www.wcjb.com, a 29-year-old Tampa man was arrested and charged with 34 counts of possessing credit card skimmers. The arrest happened when the man was pulled over on Interstate 75 South in Tampa for having illegal window tints. According to the news article, the police initially intended to give the 29-year-old man a warning, but they asked the man if they could search his car, and the man allowed the search.
During the search of the man’s vehicle, police recovered 29 credit card skimmers and five credit card readers in the front driver’s side quarter panel. Police also found a drill and box of rubber gloves in the rear floorboards and found a computer attachment used to download credit card information from the skimmers in the vehicle’s center console. Upon discovery of these materials, the police arrested the 29-year-old man, and he was taken to Alachua County Jail, where he was booked with no bond set.
Credit Card Skimming Under Florida Law
Crimes involving credit card fraud are taken very seriously in Florida and often lead to significant jail sentences for convicted individuals. Theft of a physical credit card is one way to defraud a person, but there are other means of obtaining personal credit card information with the use of “skimming” machines.
Florida Statute Section 817.625(1)(e) defines “skimming device” as a self-contained device that (1) is “designed to read and store in the device’s internal memory information encoded on the computer chip, magnetic strip or stripe, or other storage mechanism of a payment card or from another device that directly reads the information from a payment card” and (2) is “incapable of processing the payment card information for the purpose of obtaining, purchasing, or receiving goods, services, money, or anything else of value from a merchant.”
Under Florida Statute Section 817.625(2)(a), a person commits a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in jail, if he or she uses a scanning or skimming device to “access, read, obtain, memorize, or store, temporarily or permanently, information encoded on the computer chip, magnetic strip or stripe, or other storage mechanism of a payment card without the permission of the authorized user of the payment card and with the intent to defraud the authorized user, the issuer of the authorized user’s payment card, or a merchant.”
Additionally, a person may face a third-degree felony if he or she uses a “reenccoder to place information encoded on the computer chip, magnetic strip or stripe, or other storage mechanism of a payment card onto the computer chip, magnetic strip or stripe, or other storage mechanism of a different card without the permission of the authorized user of the card from which the information is being reencoded and with the intent to defraud the authorized user, the issuer of the authorized user’s payment card, or a merchant.”
Individuals facing credit card skimming charges often face additional credit card or theft charges, such as identity theft. As such, the consequences of being charged and potentially convicted of credit card crimes can be severe and long-lasting. A criminal conviction on a person’s record can affect all aspects of that person’s life, such as, among others, the ability to obtain employment, the ability to attend a college or university, or the ability to rent a home or apartment.