Schumer calls on Secret Service to increase efforts against card skimmers

Schumer calls on Secret Service to increase efforts against card skimmers

February 12, 2018 03:14 PM

Senator Charles Schumer is urging the United States Secret Service to step up investigations into card skimming incidents in the wake of a surge of such scams in the Rochester and Finger Lakes region. 

At least 20 such cases of credit card fraud have occurred in Livingston County alone in the past seven weeks, according to the press release. Schumer says it is vital that the federal government addresses this form of fraud, and has sent a letter to the Director of the Secret Service about the issue.

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“Simply put, we cannot stand by and allow unsuspecting Rochester residents to be victims of these new, nefarious credit card skimmer scams,” said Senator Schumer in the press release. “These scams hurt residents who are simply running errands and unknowingly give criminals access to personal information, enabling them to drain bank accounts, steal identities, and sell private information for financial gain. That is why I am calling on the Secret Service to immediately triple their efforts to address these horrible scams. With skimming cases continuing to rise and criminals getting savvier, it is clear that the Secret Service must do more in Rochester to eliminate these scams.”

The full content of the letter is below: 

Dear Director Alles:

I write today regarding a recent surge in card skimming incidents across a number of counties in the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region. Card skimming scammers prey on consumers at popular retail locations, in these cases specifically targeting consumers at gas stations throughout the Rochester region where skimmers have been uncovered at dozens of gas stations.  In Livingston County alone over the past seven weeks more than 20 separate cases of credit card fraud were reported that officials believe is the result of skimmers recently uncovered at area gas stations.  It is vital that we address this form of fraud that victimizes hundreds of New Yorkers and creates fear in thousands more. 

As the Secret Service has acknowledged, criminals are using card skimmers in a variety of ways, including the use of periscope skimmers, which are often undetectable to the untrained eye. Further access to personal information obtained through these devices has enabled criminals to drain bank accounts, steal identities, and sell private information for financial gain. Considering the frustration and destruction to lives that the stealing and misuse of this information can create for individuals, we must do all that we can to stay one step ahead of these criminals. This includes enabling local law enforcement with the tools to identify these scams as quickly as possible, and better informing consumers of how they can protect themselves and their personal financial information. 

Therefore, I am calling on the Secret Service to commit to increasing the number of agents and resources to combat this growing threat of fraud and root out networks that seek to take advantage of unsuspecting customers. The Secret Service should partner with local law enforcement and federal authorities to coordinate information campaigns that allow employees and customers alike to more easily identify card skimming technology. 

We cannot stand by and allow customers making necessary stops at the pump to worry that they may be at risk when using their credit or debit card for payment. The Secret Service must redouble its efforts and lead the charge in eliminating these sorts of scams. I look forward to working with your agency to counter the troubling number of card skimming incidents across New York and invite you to contact my staff if you have any further questions regarding this request.  I sincerely appreciate all of the work that you and your agents do to minimize these fraudulent events from occurring, in addition to all of the other work you do across the state. 

We look forward to your response and working with you on this important matter.     

Charles E. Schumer


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