N.J. could require daily ATM inspections to thwart thieves

 (AP file photo)

(AP file photo)

New Jersey lawmakers are considering legislation that would require operators of publicly accessible payment and withdrawal machines to inspect them every day to make sure a skimming device hasn’t been installed.

Consumers might not be able to tell if an ATM had a skimmer in place that could steal their personal information and empty their bank account, said Assemblyman Dan Benson, D-Mercer.

“That’s why we want the experts to maintain these machines, that are operating the machines, to get the training they need to know what to look for and on a regular basis make sure those devices have not been installed on their machines,” said Benson, a co-sponsor of the measure.

However, Mary Ellen Peppard with the New Jersey Food Council said the measure goes too far and would be a burden for retailers.

“It would be applied to every machine that has a PIN pad. So basically every register, every time we would go and swipe a debit card or a credit card,” she said. “Our stores could have 20 or 30 of them per store, plus an ATM, plus a fuel pump.”

New Jersey Bankers Association executive vice president Michael Affuso recommended that the bill be amended to focus on unmanned machines.

“Generally, identity theft occurs with the skimming devices at machines that are in the back of a store, etc., not at bank site where there are employees going in and out,” he said during a Monday hearing on the measure. “As a general rule, bank employees generally inspect the machines twice a day.”

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