The new Financial Crimes Intelligence Center, which will work to coordinate police investigations involving credit card skimmers, has officially opened in Tyler.
The statewide center was created by a bill of the 87th Legislature.
A partnership between the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations and the Smith County Attorney’s Office will operate the Financial Crimes Intelligence Center.
“Gasoline card skimming is a rapidly growing problem in Texas,” State Representative Mary Ann Perez, author of the legislation, said in a statement. “I am honored to see (the legislation) come together and have a positive impact in our state. Card Skimming affects all Texans – there’s a good chance you or someone you know has been Skimmed at least once.
Investigations of skimmers with law enforcement agencies will be coordinated and assisted by the Financial Crimes Intelligence Center, according to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations.
Center investigators will build relationships with financial institutions, credit and debit card issuers, charge card networks and merchants, according to the department. Training on identifying and combating credit card fraud for law enforcement officials and industry will also be developed and delivered by the center.
“Sworn FCIC investigators are very experienced, have statewide jurisdiction and can conduct the investigation whenever appropriate,” said Adam Colby, the centre’s chief intelligence coordinator. “We expect the center to be fully operational by the end of January, but we are already working on cases statewide and assisting law enforcement and private sector investigators across the country.”
The regulation of fuel meters and the quality collection of consumer complaints and merchant reports related to credit card skimmers are all managed by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations.
The Tyler Police Department and the Smith County District Attorney’s Office have actively investigated and prosecuted those involved in the gasoline skimmer credit card fraud, according to the department.
Day-to-day operations of the Financial Crimes Intelligence Center will be managed by the Smith County DA office, and reimbursements for operating expenses will be provided to Smith County by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations.
“The Financial Crimes Intelligence Center is a big step forward in law enforcement for the protection of the citizens of Texas.” Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman said in a statement. “The Smith County Attorney’s Office is grateful to TDLR and the legislature for recognizing the need to stop organized crime and fraud at our gas pumps and payment terminals. This new center will help keep our citizens safe in Smith County and across the state, and will allow law enforcement to operate effectively statewide. “