City News

Common Council combats gas pump skimmer outbreak with lock requirement

The Madison Common Council voted unanimously Tuesday to require all gas pumps in the city be secured by a lock by the start of the new year.

The requirement comes after a string of credit card skimmers have been found in pumps around Madison and across the state. Skimmers are devices used to capture credit card information from the magnetic strip of credit cards.

Jennifer Badeau, vice president of Legal and Public Affairs for the Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, felt that forcing station owners to add locks would be punitive, especially for small businesses.

“I think all the chains in Madison are putting in locks,” Badeau said. “But the smaller locations don’t choose to do that.”

Kyle Bunnow of the Building Inspection Division in the Department of Planning, Community & Economic Development, however, said he believes the locks will make it more difficult for perpetrators to access the pumps quickly.

“This is really about stopping the easy access to the inside of the pumps where something can be done and no one can see anything about it unless the pump is actually visually inspected,” Bunnow said.

All of the skimmers that have been found in the city have been internal skimmers, meaning they’ve been inside of the pumps. The alders felt that while the locks wouldn’t guarantee their abolishment, it would lessen the use of skimmers.

The locks will be put on the payment and electronic section of the pumps.

Council President Mike Verveer noted he believes the ordinance is “common sense consumer protection.”  

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