MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You will soon have to show an ID to buy certain gift cards with a credit card in Shakopee.
The city council is the first in the state to pass an ordinance to cut down on fraud in this way.
Police Chief Jeff Tate proposed the ordinance at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. He said fraud connected to buying gift cards that act like cash has become a widespread problem in the city, and it’s draining resources and he thinks causing more fraud.
This affects Visa, MasterCard and American Express gift cards. People can buy them anywhere from gas stations to big box stores. Tate says criminals especially go after these gift cards, and they’re bought with cloned credit cards.
“You can get cash quickly. The transactions are largely irreversible, and they can do it quite anonymously,” Tate said. “It’s a real easy path, especially if you’re at a self-checkout, where nobody’s really watching you that closely, and not checking how many times you’re skimming a card.”
The Minnesota Retailers Association opposed the ordinance, saying they would rather try other options before passing this ordinance, they would rather have a more uniform ordinance if there’s going to be one, like at the state level. But the city council voted unanimously 4 to 0 to pass the ordinance as written.
“We’re not trying to displace businesses, we’re just trying to do something for our community, for our residents so that they’re protected when they lose their card or have their card stolen,” said City Councilmember Jody Brennan. “And it’s our obligation to do that.”
It is not clear when the ordinance will go into effect, but here’s how it would work:
- People won’t be able to buy a Visa, Mastercard or American Express gift card in a self-checkout line.
- If they buy one with a credit card, they’ll have to show ID. Cash or check will be accepted.
Chief Tate says he doesn’t expect this this type of fraud to disappear, but does hope it will be an obstacle.