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Sweeny/Madden Measure To Help Combat Identity Theft Is Now Law

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Steve Sweeney and Fred H. Madden that prohibits the use of scanning and re-encoding devices which are often used to gain illegal access to encoded information on ATM, credit, debit and other electronic payment cards was signed into law today by Governor Richard J. Codey.

“Anyone with access to re-encoding equipment and someone else’s credit card can become an identity thief,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “This new law will work to help protect consumers from having their identities stolen, and incurring sky-high credit card debt.”

“Credit card fraud is a violation that can continue to affect victims for years after the crime is committed,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “By making re-encoders less accessible to the public, this law will work to combat identity theft before it begins.”

The Senators’ measure, S-2617, prohibits the use or possession of the scanning devices often used in identity theft practices. The measure makes it a third degree crime to intentionally defraud a consumer by using the device to access account information or transfer personal information to another card. In New Jersey, third degree crimes are punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines. The bill makes knowingly possessing a re-encoding device or any other equipment or software designed to be used with a scanning device to commit a violation a fourth degree crime, which is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and fines of up to $10,000.

Identity thieves use the scanners and re-encoders, which are no larger than the size of a credit card, to record card numbers and other personal information from credit cards, and transfer the information to another card at a later date, for illegal use.

This measure was unanimously approved by the Senate on June 30.

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