Illegal Card-Readers Proliferate at Iowa Retailers; Law Enforcement Academy Responds

Jan 30, 2017

The head of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy briefed state lawmakers this week on changes in the curriculum for officers in training at the school.   

Director Judy Bradshaw says they’re trying to bring students up to speed on a growing form of credit card fraud.

Iowa law enforcement is a little bit behind

Thieves are installing more and more illegal card-readers known as skimmers on gas pumps and ATM’s.   

The devices copy the information from your credit card, which can then be turned into a clone of your card.

Skimmers can be purchased on the internet for less than $20.   

“Right now Iowa law enforcement is a little bit behind from the rest of the country in knowing from first 

Iowa Law Enforcement Academy
Credit ILEA

responders what to do with a skimmer,” Bradshaw said. “A deputy or law enforcement officer goes to the Casey's because they received that phone call.”

The officer gets to the store, where a confused employees has found a skimmer.

“Look at this contraption I just took off my gas pump,” the employee says, according to Bradshaw.  “What is it?  Well, it's a card reader, it's a skimmer.”  

Bradshaw says officers have found skimmers on ATM’s at Hy-Vee stores right inside the front lobby.

What is it? It's a skimmer

The director hopes to add a unit to the curriculum this spring on ID theft which would cover skimmers.

Bradshaw advises consumers to examine card slots at ATM’s and gas pumps for anything unusual.

“The skimmers come right off,” Bradshaw said.

Meanwhile, Bradshaw advised a justice system budget panel that she needs another full-time instructor at the school to meet growing enrollment.