Iowa lawmakers enacted several new consumer protections this year, including credit security freezes and “skimming” devices attached to gas pumps and ATM’s.

Senate File 2177 gives consumers that seek credit freezes more options. The bill prohibits fees from being charged for placing, removing, suspending, or reinstating any security freeze. The bill also creates new procedures to speed up the receipt and processing of security freezes. Credit reporting agencies are required to provide information on how to receive credit freezes from other consumer reporting agencies to any consumer seeking a credit freeze with one consumer reporting agency.

A credit freeze, also sometimes called a security freeze, allows someone who has had his or her identity stolen to restrict access to the person’s credit report to make it more difficult for accounts to be opened by the identity thieves. If a creditor cannot see a credit report the creditor may not extend the line of credit that is requested. A credit freeze can be lifted by the person that asked for the freeze, either temporarily or permanently.

House File 2199 protects Iowans from new wireless devices used in skimmers that are used to skim or scan credit card numbers at places like ATMs and gas pumps. The bill also expands the crime to the direct or indirect use of these scanning devices. These changes assure that the law is keeping pace with the newest technologies that are used to commit these crimes.

A new crime is also created for possessing a scanning device with the intent to use the device to steal credit card information.   Under current law it is a crime to use a scanning device to read a credit card without permission, but this change will assure when police find these devices places like ATMs and gas pumps that the criminals using the scanning device can be held responsible.