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New laws will protect consumers against 'skimmers' that steal personal information

Laws signed also cover stolen metal, protect credit, extend DWI project

Thursday, December 26, 2013

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Snyder has signed a package of bills intended to safeguard Michiganders from devices used to steal their personal information and use it to commit fraud. The bills are included among 14 other pieces of legislation intended to help protect Michiganders and their property in a variety of ways.

The five-bill package creates criminal penalties relating to the use of a “skimmer” device used to access a person’s financial information. The devices are illegally attached to automatic teller machines and record a person entering a PIN and read the information on the ATM or the debit or credit card’s magnetic strip.

“These devices are used to steal from others, and we need to crack down on this problem to help protect Michiganders,” Snyder said. “This is a bipartisan package of bills approved unanimously, showing the united commitment to fighting this growing issue.”

HB 5050, sponsored by state Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth, makes it a crime to use the devices. A person convicted of the crime could face five years in prison for a first offense, increasing to 15 years for a third and subsequent offense.

 Other items in the package include:

  • HB 5051, sponsored by state Rep. Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, increases the penalty for illegally using personal identifying information from a transaction without consent.
  • HB 5052, sponsored by state Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, includes in the sentencing guidelines the penalties proposed in HB 5051.
  • HB 5053, sponsored by state Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton, D-Huntington Woods, covers potential jurisdictional issues in the prosecution of the crimes, and
  • HB 5054, sponsored by state Rep. John Kivela, D-Marquette, amends the Code of Criminal Procedure to make selling or possessing a skimming device a felony.

 The bills are now Public Acts 212, 213, 214, 215 and 216 of 2013, respectively.

 Other public safety and consumer protection-related bills include:

 HB 4595, sponsored by then-Rep. Jim Ananich, D-Flint, would make it a felony for a scrap metal dealer to purchase scrap metal or an item of personal property if the dealer knows that it was stolen. It also would be a felony for a person to sell such metal items to a dealer knowing that the materials were stolen. The bill requires the approval of HB 4593 before taking effect. That bill has not yet been passed, but is a priority for next year. It is now Public Act 217 of 2013.

 HB 4770, sponsored by Lipton, and HB 4771, sponsored by state Rep. Joe Graves, R-Linden, focus on the solicitation of people involved in vehicle crashes. Lipton’s bill prohibits access to accident reports for 30 days to people other than those involved in the crash and others associated with the event, including journalists. Graves’ bill makes it a crime to contact accident victims or their family members for solicitation within 30 days of the crash. They are now Public Acts 218 and 219 of 2013.

 HB 4966-4969, 5048 and 5049 amend various statutes which permit a person to have a criminal charge dismissed due to being successfully discharged from probation. The records from the discharge and dismissal process are not public if the offender does not have an adjudication of guilt entered against them.

 The bills, all approved unanimously, permit the Department of Corrections to access and use the records only in the performance of its duties and in some personnel issues.

 HB 4966 was sponsored by state Rep. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, HB 4967 by Cotter, HB 4968 by Heise, HB 4969 by state Rep. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, HB 5048 by state Rep. Charles Brunner, D-Bay City, and HB 5049 by state Rep. Sam Singh, D-East Lansing. The bills are now Public Acts 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, and 225 of 2013, respectively.

 HB 5020 and 5021 extend the sunset date of the DWI/Sobriety Court Interlock Pilot Project one more year, ending Dec. 31, 2014.   The bills call for the program to then continue indefinitely, without pilot designation, beginning Jan. 1, 2015. HB 5020 is sponsored by state Rep. Nancy Jenkins, R-Clayton, and HB 5021 is sponsored by state Rep. Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway. They are now Public Acts 226 and 227, respectively.

 SB 94, sponsored by state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, would prohibit state and local officials from aiding the federal government in the detention of a U.S. citizen if charges are not brought. The National Defense Act allows the federal government to detain people for an unlimited time without charges being brought against them. It is now Public Act 228 of 2013.

 SB 174, sponsored by state Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, allows a security freeze on a protected consumer’s credit report under certain conditions. A protected consumer is defined as a child under the age of 16, an incapacitated person, or a person under the care of a guardian or conservator. The intent is to prevent loans, credit or other services from being fraudulently carried out in the protected consumer’s name. It is now Public Act 229 of 2013.

 SB 321, sponsored by Jones, exempts process servers from the trespass law when they are engaged in the business of serving a person on that person’s property. It is now Public Act 230 of 2013.

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