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Alliance strives to limit skimmer crimes


PHOENIX – The Department of Agriculture this week hosted gas retailers, police investigators, credit unions, and the Attorney General’s office to discuss efforts to combat skimming crimes. 

The Department recently ramped up efforts to identify credit skimmers in the interest of consumer protection. Since the beginning of this year, the Department has recorded 44 skimmers found in the state. In 2015, 11 skimmers were found.

“We have to stop these criminals in our state,” said Mark Killian, director of the Department of Agriculture. “Our meeting brought together businesses affected by the crime to protect consumers and themselves. It is a step in the right direction. Earlier this year, members of the alliance worked to draft legislation to increase the penalty for those caught using skimmers. Now we’re working together to stop the crime.”

Retailers talked about the newest technology and what they are doing to prevent the installation. Police outlined the investigation process. Credit Union representatives discussed fraud alerts and financial tracking. The Department explained the training it’s provided for stations, and announced increased training programs for gas stations. The meeting helped the industries involved compare notes and look for opportunities for more cooperation. 

“We work as a clearinghouse of information for the state,” said Michelle Wilson, associate director for the Division of Weights and Measures. “Our inspectors, gas stations, police and financial institutions let us know when a skimmer is installed. We gather the data and share it with the others. That helps all police agencies, credit card companies and retailers keep up to date, even if the crime wasn’t to their company or in their city.”