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Skimming


Better ATM Skimming Through Thermal Imaging

August 2011
The Register reports security researchers have found that thermal cameras can be combined with computer algorithms to automate the process of stealing payment card data processed by automatic teller machines. At the recent Usenix Security Symposium in San Francisco, the researchers said the technique has advantages over more common ATM skimming methods that use traditional cameras to capture the PINs people enter during transactions. That’s because customers often obscure a camera’s view with their bodies, either inadvertently or on purpose.

Global Card Fraud Scheme Grows

August 2011
Bank Info Security reports the NSW Police in Australia announced the arrest of five Malaysian and Sri Lankan nationals for the roles they played in an international card-skimming. After a months-long investigation, authorities seized more than 50 stolen POS terminals, dozens of card skimmers and more than 18,000 blank and counterfeit cards. PIN overlays and other electronics, such as laptops and mobile phones, also have been confiscated. The scheme involved skimming at point-of-sale terminals in numerous merchant locations that span United Kingdom, mainland Europe and North America.

Pay-at-the-Pump Skimming: ‘Epidemic’

August 2011
Bank Info Security reports from Florida to Texas, more reports of pay-at-the-pump card-skimming scams are pouring in to law enforcement agencies. Recently, the National Association of Convenience Stores, better known as NACS, issued a statement about skimming trends in Tampa, Fla., saying the theft of debit and credit card numbers at pay-at-the-pump gas terminals has become nearly epidemic. And a detective with the Euless, Texas, Police Department said a months-long investigation into skimming at gas pumps throughout northern Texas has finally come to a close, after local authorities arrested and charged a 51-year-old fraudster for his role in masterminding the scheme.

San Diego Man Charged with Stealing $200K in ATM Identity Theft Scheme

August 2011
The Examiner.com reports a 49-year-old San Diego County resident, Daniel Axinte, was arraigned in San Diego Superior Court on 45 charges of identity theft and felony burglary using scanning equipment and customer surveillance video cameras at a Chase bank ATM machine. The alleged scheme is said to have compromised 970 ATM debit cards and netted Mr. Axinte over $200,000. He is alleged to have installed a duplicate bogus credit card scanner on an access door to the ATM on at least six weekends, and then secretly video taped customers entering their security codes with a hidden camera located above the keypad of the machine. According to the charges, he carried out his plans by quickly installing his devices, and then returning later to remove them, extracting the information collected, imprinting it on blank bank cards, and then accessing the same ATM machine to withdraw various amounts of money, usually $500, but as high as $1,000 on some transactions.

‘Poison Ivy’ ATM Fraud Suspects Charged

August 2011
The American Banker reports Arizona police attribute a rash of ATM crime to what they call the “Poison Ivy Fraud Ring.” Six suspects were charged with fraud, identity theft, computer tampering and money laundering for their alleged connection to a card-skimming scheme. The suspects are accused of using skimming devices to steal ATM card data as the cards were used at TruWest Credit Union machines. The stolen card data was used to make between $200,000 and $300,000 in fraudulent withdrawals, police said. Police say they filmed one of the suspects, Craig Cunningham, installing a skimming device on an ATM. They say the other suspects were recorded using counterfeit cards made with the stolen card data.

Phisher Sentenced to 12 Years

August 2011
A U.S. District Court in California has slapped a hacker with a 12-year prison sentence for phishing attacks he launched on more than 38,000 consumers. Tien Truong Nguyen, 34, was found guilty of stealing personal bank information from unsuspecting online users after sending those users to spoofed bank sites that collected account log-in and password details. Through targeted spear-phishing attacks, Nguyen collected bank details that he sold to other cyberthieves who then used the stolen identities to open lines of credit.

Alleged ID Thief Stole $200,000 in Debit-card Scam

July 2011Signon San Diego reports an alleged identity thief was charged with looting more than $200,000 from customer accounts at a Rancho Peñasquitos bank by using an electronic device to steal debit card information. The suspect, Daniel Axinte, 49, is suspected of stealing from about 950 customers at the Chase Bank branch on Black Mountain Road, but authorities said that number may go up if more victims come forward. Bank investigators discovered that a man was installing a card-skimming device on the door of the bank’s ATM lobby every Saturday after closing time. He would remove it before the bank reopened on Mondays, district attorney’s investigator Joe Cargel said. This occurred for six weeks in a row.

Trio Made $400K Lifting PINs from ATMs

July 2011
The Houston Press reports three men have been indicted for going to local ATMs and putting in overlay pads to intercept and store customers’ financial info, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Jason Michael Lall, 38, John Pierre Griffin, 32, and John DaSilva Paz, 27, hid themselves from security cameras by blocking them with vehicles or spray-painting them, and then installed the devices in otherwise normal-looking official bank ATMs. The information captured from the various ATM machines was then re-encoded onto fraudulent cards that were used to withdraw money in excess of $400,000 from various area bank locations.

“Skimming” Scam Affects Conway Area Residents

July 2011
The Log Cabin Democrat reports officials with the Conway Arkansas police department are investigating a banking scam that has affected the Conway area. Nearly two-dozen police reports were filed from customers of various banks in the community who claimed that money had been taken from their accounts without their permission. Luther Guinn, Deputy Bank Commissioner of the Arkansas State Bank Department, said this type of scam, known as “skimming,” is something that has not been predominant in central Arkansas.

More Fraud Victims Surface

June 2011
The Suffolk News-Herald reports more victims are surfacing in a police investigation of a fraud that has swindled residents of Suffolk out of a total of more than $35,000. Suffolk police first issued a warning June 3 that a number of people who had recently purchased fuel at the Murphy USA station on North Main Street had been victimized. In every case, according to city spokeswoman Debbie George, the victims had used their debit card and entered a personal identification number at the pump. Sometimes within hours, unknown suspects in California had apparently manufactured copies of the cards and used them at automated teller machines to withdraw hundreds, even thousands, of dollars from the victims’ accounts, usually after doing a balance inquiry to see how much money was available.

Four Charged with $1.5M ATM Skimming

June 2011
Bank Info Security reports federal authorities have indicted four men for their alleged involvement in a $1.5 million ATM skimming scheme that targeted Citibank and JPMorgan Chase bank branches in New York, Chicago and Miami. The indictment accuses the team of using different types of skimming technology. One method allegedly involved replacing PIN pads on branch lobby ATMs with manipulated devices that collected card details and PINs as customers entered them. Wireless technology was also allegedly used by the thieves to remotely retrieve the information. Another method is believed to have involved compromising card readers used for 24/7 access to ATM vestibules located outside the branches’ main lobbies. Investigators say the fraudsters then used PIN pad overlays on the ATMs housed inside the vestibules to capture and record PIN details.

NY Man Admits ‘Skimming’ ATMs for Nearly $300K

June 2011
The Wall Street Journal reports a Bulgarian native has admitted scanning personal information from ATM machines in northern New Jersey and stealing nearly $300,000. Georgi Nikiforov pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark to bank fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft. Nikiforov was arrested last fall. He was accused of using an electronic device to skim identity and account information from Valley National Bank branches in Nutley and Belleville. The Queens, N.Y. resident and others allegedly withdrew nearly $300,000 using the stolen personal identification numbers. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says the bank repaid its customers for the amount stolen.

Pay-at-the-Pump Skimming on Trial

June 2011
Bank Info Security reports a July trial date has been set for one of three suspects linked to a card-skimming scheme at pay-at-the-pump gas terminals in Hawaii. Ariak Davtyan, 45, of Los Angeles, was extradited from California in early May on three counts of first-degree identity theft, after allegedly stealing more than $150,000 from six Hawaii financial institutions, using credit and debit card information stolen from 156 consumer accounts. Fraudsters allegedly used a master key to open the gas pump enclosures and then attached electronic skimming devices.

Four Indicted in Naperville “Skim” Scam

May 2011
The Chicago Daily Herald reports four men are accused in a federal indictment of conspiring to “skim” credit card information from unsuspecting customers at a Naperville restaurant. A special grand jury indictment filed this month accuses the men of using a handheld “skimming device” to obtain encoded information from the magnetic strips of credit cards used at the restaurant. According to the indictment, the restaurant manager was recruited and paid $200 to obtain personal credit card information from customers.

Brooklyn Man Pleads Guilty to ATM Skimming Scheme Targeting New Jersey Bank

May 2011
The United States Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey, announced a Bulgarian native and Brooklyn, N.Y. resident admitted to a scheme to steal account information from bank customers by installing secret recording devices on ATMs in Nutley and Belleville, N.J. Viktor Kafalov, 28, pleaded guilty in Newark federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Kafalov admitted that he installed skimmers and cameras on the Valley National Bank ATMs in September 2008, and that after account and identification information was obtained, it was transferred and loaded onto blank ATM cards. The newly created cards were then used to make unauthorized withdrawals from the skimmed accounts. In addition to skimming, Kafalov and his co-conspirators inserted empty deposit envelopes into ATMs to falsely inflate the funds that appeared to be available in the accounts and allow them to withdraw more money. In all, Kafalov and his co-conspirators stole information pertaining to approximately 348 accounts, and defrauded Valley National Bank of approximately $278,144.

Romanian Citizen Pleads Guilty To ATM Skimming Scheme Involving People’s United Bank In Madison

April 2011
Madison-ct.patch.com reports that Adrian Mitan, 30, a citizen of Romania, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud stemming from his participation in a multistate ATM “skimming” scheme. According to court documents, Mitan and others conspired to install “skimming” devices on automated teller machines, and on card swipe access devices used by banks to control access to ATM lobby doors, in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. The devices were able to capture the information encoded on the magnetic strips of bank cards used by ATM customers. The scheme resulted in a combined loss to all of the victim banks of more than $200,000.

Nine Charged in Major Fraud Raid

April 2011
YorkRegion.com reports two York Region residents were arrested following a two-month investigation into organized crime activity related to bank machines in southern Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Nova Scotia. The investigation targeted Eastern Europeans who were believed to be tampering with ATMs in order to skim payment card data. According to police, devices were attached to the machines that were able to skim debit card data and PINs while unsuspecting customers were using machines. Police believe this group is linked to 300 cases of tampering in which victims lost about $2-million since last September.

California Men Indicted for Allegedly Stealing Credit Card Info from 194 People in Hawaii

March 2011
HawaiiNewsNow reports Honolulu prosecutors on Tuesday secured an eight-count indictment against three California men suspected of stealing financial information from nearly 200 people in Hawaii. Court documents say the men from California flew to Hawaii and victimized 194 people by opening front panels on gas pumps and installing devices that could capture data from the magnetic strips on cards. Prosecutors say the men later returned to the gas stations to retrieve their devices and then flew back to California, where they used the information to acquire $170,000 from six financial institutions in Hawaii.


ATM Skimming Suspect Arrested in Vancouver

March 2011
KGW.com reports Vancouver, Washington police arrested a man suspected of putting a “skimming” device on an ATM. Detectives said they got a tip from someone who saw a photo on the news. Nicholas Duncan, 18, of Vancouver, was arrested on one count of fraud. Last week a customer at the LaCamas Credit Union on Southeast 31st Street noticed the device over the card slot and called police. Officers found a pinhole camera mounted just over the keypad to capture customers’ PINs as they entered them.

Pay-at-the-Pump Card Fraud Revs Up

March 2011
Tracy Kitten of Bank Security Info reports warm weather and easy targets have made self-service gas pumps in Arizona attractive targets for card-skimmers. Card fraud linked to pay-at-the-pump gas terminals in Arizona tourist spots such as Tucson, is on the rise, as travel season gears up for spring. Last week, Tucson, Ariz., Police Sgt. Michael Garcia told a local TV station that pay-at-the-pump skimming has been on the rise since January, when Tucson police confiscated the city’s first gas pump card skimmer. Local law enforcement quickly responded in mid-January by telling gas station owners to check card readers on fuel pumps more regularly, as well as warn consumers about the dangers of paying with plastic at the pump.

Having a Ball with ATM Skimmers

February 2011
Krebs on Security reports a customer at an ATM at a Bank of America branch in Sun Valley, Calif., spotted something that didn’t look quite right about the machine: A silver, plexiglass device had been attached to the ATM’s card acceptance slot, in a bid to steal card data from unsuspecting ATM users. But the customer and the bank’s employees initially overlooked a secondary fraud device that the unknown thief had left at the scene: A sophisticated, battery operated and motion activated camera designed to record victims entering their personal identification numbers at the ATM.

Skimming Fraud Case: Two Plead Guilty, Sentenced
January 2011
The Martinez News-Gazette reports two men were sentenced to prison Tuesday after pleading guilty in Contra Costa County Superior Court to multiple charges tying them to a Northern California credit card scam that took more than $90,000 from 200 people.

Five Arrested in ATM Fraud Case, with Victims in Springfield Township

January 2011
Montgomery Media reports five men originally from Bulgaria have been arrested and charged with using “skimmer” devices on ATM machines at several Citizens Bank and Wells Fargo Bank branches in Springfield, Lower Providence and Lower Merion townships in Montgomery County as well as West Whiteland Township in Chester County.

Three Arrested for Credit Card Fraud
January 2011
Cal Coastal News.com reports San Luis Obispo Police arrested three people who allegedly stole $58,000 from at least 100 people by strategically placing small cameras and card readers at several county banks. A Chase Bank investigator told police he had captured video images of skimmers at the Chase Bank on Madonna Road. A few days later, another Chase Bank machine was compromised on El Camino Real in Atascadero. Police tracked the suspects to a local motel where they found skimmer devices, cloned credit cards and $20,000 in cash.

Men Sentenced for Role in International ATM Skimming Ring
January 2011
The Register reports two men were sentenced to lengthy prison terms on Tuesday for their roles in an ATM skimming spree that authorities say targeted gas station pumps throughout the United States. David Karapetyan, 32, received a seven-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to 37 felonies related to the scam, which prosecutors said netted more than $90,000 over a three-month period in Northern California alone. Zhirayr Zamanyan, 31, was sentenced to five years after he pleaded guilty to five felonies. The scheme unraveled after a 7-Eleven store employee in Martinez, California, noticed a skimming device inside a gas pump. Police replaced the device with a clone and conducted around-the-clock surveillance. Karapetyan and Zamanyan were apprehended when they visited the store to retrieve the device.

Man Arrested for ATM Fraud of Redmond Bank

January 2011
The Bellevue Report filed a story that Bellevue police arrested a man last month for mounting a camera on a Redmond ATM in an attempt to steal customers’ banking information. The “skimming” suspect was taken into custody on Dec. 21 after he was seen taking the camera from the ATM by Bellevue police.

Consumer 10.0: High-Tech Thievery Lurks at ATMs

January 2011
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports in one form or another, skimming has existed nearly as long as credit cards have come with magnetic strips. ATM-card skimming is more complicated, because the cards require a secret PIN code to gain access to your funds. But the tools to simultaneously steal a card’s data and its owner’s secret code are increasingly available – sometimes even sold via contacts made in Internet chat rooms.

Two Men Accused of Skimming at ATM Machines

December 2010
KOMO News in Seattle reports federal agents have arrested a pair of suspects accused of skimming several ATM machines in the Puget Sound area. Gvidiv Mateescu and Claudiu Tudor are accused of rigging the machines to record bank account information. Investigators say the two stole more than $325,000 in Renton and Woodinville between September and October. They have been charged with fraud.

Card Skimming Trends for 2011
December 2010
Bank Info Security reports payments card fraud is not expected to slow down anytime soon, especially from skimming attacks. Industry experts say card skimming at ATMs and points of sale is quickly reaching a tipping point in the United States, where lingering magnetic-stripe technology is making U.S. cardholders easy targets.

Card Fraud: ‘Flash Attacks’ and Wireless Transmissions

December 2010
CU Info Security interviewed Avivah Litan at Gartner Research on emerging card schemes such as “flash attacks.” He said, “The emergence of so-called “flash attacks,” which rely on coordinated, often international, efforts to simultaneously withdraw funds from multiple ATMs using fake cards created from copied card details, is likely just the beginning. These attacks are problematic, because they evade most of the controls banks have put in place to detect fraud.”

Columbia Bank the Latest to Be Hit with ATM Skimming Scheme
December 2010
The Baltimore Sun reports it wasn’t your traditional bank heist, but thieves recently got away with more than $90,000 from Columbia Bank by using a scheme called “skimming.” The thieves implanted a device in October on an ATM at the bank’s Long Gate Parkway branch in Ellicott City, collecting account information each time a customer used the machine over two weekends, officials say. Armed with this information, they were able to withdraw money from customers’ accounts — which the bank later replaced.

Siberian Crooks Dev’d Custom Malware in ATM Slurp Heist Scheme
December 2010
The Register reports Russian cybercrooks contracted a virus writer to develop custom-made malware before launching a plot to loot compromised ATM machines. Once in place, the malware allowed the gang to obtain bank card details and associated PIN codes for later fraud. Although the gang – mostly from Yakutsk, a mid-sized city close to the Artic Circle in Siberia – were ultimately caught, the sophistication, planning and investment that went into their plot ought to be a wake-up call for the banking industry.

ATM Fraud Gets Even More Brazen
November 2010
The Wall Street Journal reports fraud involving debit cards and personal-identification numbers is on the rise as criminals go where the cash is—even targeting banks’ own automated teller machines. Techniques such as “skimming,” in which criminals capture card information and personal-identification numbers, have existed for years, often on a small scale. Though the dollar losses still are relatively modest, organized gangs now are pulling off more-sophisticated attacks.

Police Bust Debit Card Cloning Operation
November 2010
CTV Montreal reports three men have been arrested in connection with a debit card cloning scheme. Police discovered the three men always operated the same way by installing a data storage device and a miniature camera at the debit banking machine. They were then able to read and store PIN numbers through the device, and then cloned debit cards to make fraudulent withdrawals.

Skimming the Cash Out of Your Account
November 2010
Laura Bruce at Bankrate.com reports that experts say crime rings sometimes skim ATMs, and the damage can be extensive. A New York ring installed more than 20 modified ATMs and compromised more than 26,000 transactions and thousands of cards from 1,400 issuers. Losses were pegged at $3.5 million before the case was cracked.”

Top 4 Skimming Threats
November 2010
Bank Info Security reports on the top four skimming threats. Credit and debit card skimming can take many forms. Here are the top four credit and debit card skimming attacks hitting U.S. businesses, financial institutions and their customers.

1. Hand-Held POS Skimming Device
2. Retail POS Terminal “Swaps”
3. ATM and Unattended Self-Service Terminal Skimming
4. Dummy ATMs

Credit Card ‘Flash Attack’ Steals up to $500,000 a Month
October 2010
The Register reports Credit card fraudsters may have pocketed as much as $500,000 over the past month by pursuing a new type of attack that exploits a major blind spot in payment processors’ defenses, an analyst said. The “flash attacks” recruit hundreds of money mules who go to ATMs throughout the US and almost simultaneously withdraw relatively small sums of money from a single compromised account, according to Avivah Litan, vice president at market research firm Gartner, who follows the credit card industry. They then move on to a new account. At the end of the month, the heists can fetch as much as $500,000.

New Dynamics Payment Card Eradicates Significant US Fraud
October 2010
BusinessWire reports Dynamics Inc., unveiled its anti-skimming technology at BAI Retail Delivery in Las Vegas. Each year, the payment ecosystem loses billions of dollars from fraudsters stealing credit card numbers. More advanced fraudsters steal credit card numbers by breaking into merchant servers where the numbers are electronically stored. Dynamics’ anti-skimming device, called the Dynamic Credit Card™, helps to protect consumers and merchants against this threat by automatically writing a new, unique dynamic security code onto its magnetic stripe for every in-store purchase. A display can also be added to the card so the card can automatically display a new, unique dynamic security code for every online purchase – thus replacing the three or four digit security code physically printed on traditional cards.

Credit Card Skimming and Card Issuers Behaving Badly
September 2010
Jennifer S. Martin blogs on the Commercial Law website about her poor experience in disputing skimming fraud on her credit card. She believes her bank denied the dispute up front without an investigation. She states, “This type of issuer behavior really gets me going! They knew they did not investigate the transaction, but sent a denial right away of the claim I did not authorize the transaction. The ‘game’ here is to send the denials on fraud claims knowing that only some consumers will pick up the phone and complain.”

BECU Cracks Card Skimming at Wendy’s
August 2010
Bank Info Security reports a worker at a local Wendy’s restaurant was arrested yesterday, along with two alleged accomplices, and charged with identity theft after she allegedly used a “skimmer” to steal credit card information from as many as 135 customers. The investigation was initiated by the King County Sheriff’s office after evidence was brought to it by a fraud investigator at BECU, who had linked violations to several member accounts to the Tukwila Wendy’s restaurant.

Pay-At-The-Pump Skimming on the Rise
July 2010
Bank Info Security reports institutions, customers are paying for lack of security on gas terminals. At a Shell station in Alachua, FL, last week, a service technician found a skimming device on a pay-at-the-pump terminal when he opened the machine for a routine maintenance check. This incident, the latest in a wave of such attacks, highlights two concerns: That skimming isn’t limited to ATMs, and that banking institutions and customers have yet another vulnerability to consider regarding payment card transactions.

Americans’ PINs at Risk for Scams
July 2010
The Bank Fraud Forum reports that new places and unfamiliar ATMs are fertile ground for skimming scams that cost consumers and the ATM industry about $1 billion in annual global losses. Skimming involves stealing the information from a card’s magnetic strip or pilfering a consumer’s personal identification number, or PIN. It’s the most basic of ATM frauds. It can involve a peek over a shoulder or crooks posting small cameras or using telescopic devices to see the PIN. Skimming also happens with fake card readers and phony ATMs.

New Software to Beat Credit Card Fraud
June 2010
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Bank of New Zealand’s novel software-based technology for reducing credit-card fraud is being rolled out in Australia by its parent company, National Australia Bank. The “liquid encryption number” (LEN) technology is used on all BNZ credit and debit cards, and has cut the incidence of fraudulent transactions from “cloned” credit cards by 50 per cent. The technology works by changing numbers on a card’s magnetic stripe every time a transaction takes place, or an account balance is requested at an automatic teller (ATM).

Credit Card Skimming Devices at More Gas Pumps
June 2010
Rocklin & Roseville Today reports three law enforcement agencies are on the trail of identity thieves after the discovery of identical credit card skimming machines inside gasoline pumps in Placer County, Folsom and Sacramento. The simple scanning devices have been found in pumps furthest from the clerk’s location and nearest to the street to avoid detection. Consumers are encouraged to pay inside the store using their credit cards or cash to avoid this type of fraud.

Bossier City Man Charged with Credit Card “Skimming”
June 2010
The Shreveport Times reports a Bossier City man faces theft charges after allegedly using a skimming device to steal people’s credit card information. Bossier City police arrested Sankeyno Rakeem Taylor, 21, on 10 counts of theft under Louisiana’s Anti-Skimming Act following a week long investigation. Taylor is accused of using a skimming device over the past several weeks to steal credit card information from customers in the drive-through lane at the McDonald’s Express restaurant where he was employed.

ATM Skimming Spree Nets $200K
June 2010
Tracy Kitten at Bank Info Security reports that a skimming scam in Long Island, N.Y., netted thieves more than $200,000 from ATMs at five Bank of America branches. These latest in a series of ATM skimming attacks across the U.S. reportedly occurred from April through May. Security surveillance cameras recorded six suspects withdrawing money with cloned debit cards created from the skimmed information. The suspects have not yet been captured.

Disney Clerk Accused of Credit Card Skimming
June 2010
WESH-TV in Orlando reports a Walt Disney World employee used skimming devices at several of the resort’s hotels to steal credit card information from guests. According to federal documents, the victims had used their credit cards at Saratoga Springs Resort and Old Key West Resort, both of which are owned by Disney. Investigators said they tracked the skimming device back to Ana Rosa, who said she had worked at Walt Disney World since 1997. According to investigators, Rosa was responsible for skimming 173 credit card numbers and is responsible for more than $83,000 in losses.

Skimming Scams
May 2010
Justin Pritchard at About.com alerts consumers to dangers of skimming scams and how to avoid them. He says scammers can quickly read a card’s information and use it to access your account fraudulently. He notes skimmers may be installed on ATM machines, and sometimes not be noticed. A small device is placed over the normal card reading slot and can read a card’s magnetic stripe. Skimmers can also be handheld devices that a dishonest merchant can keep in his pocket. While charging a card while out at dinner, for example, a scammer can run a card through a skimmer as well.

U.S. Businesses Face Skimming Fraud Increase
April 2010
Angela Moscaritolo at SC MagazineUS.com writes that U.S. banks are grappling with a recent increase in skimming attacks, which are being carried out by Eastern European gangs aiming to steal consumer bank account numbers and PINs, according to a Gartner analyst. These types of attacks are not new, but the scale and the organization behind them according to, Avivah Litan, Gartner.

Debit-Card ‘Skimming’ Scams
January 2010
ConsumerReports.org outlines three steps people can to take to protect account data from getting into the wrong hands. Thieves using a technique known as skimming, set up equipment that captures magnetic stripe and keypad information when consumers input their PIN at ATM machines, gas pumps, restaurants, or retailers.

Briton Faces Fraud Charges Over International Debit Card Scam
December 2010
The TimesOnline reports that a British man has appeared in an Australian court to face charges over a multi-million dollar scam which police allege is the country’s largest debit card-skimming operation. The accused are alleged to have gone to more than 20 McDonald’s restaurants in the Perth metropolitan area, swapping the pin keypads on EFTPOS (Switch) machines at the outlets’ drive-throughs in September and stole more than $AU4.5 million (£ 2.5million) from about 4,000 victims.

ATM Fraud: New Skimming Scheme Spreads
December 2009
Bank Info Security reports that three ATM skimming operations in Maryland, Illinois and Georgia have netted thieves more than $120,000, according to law enforcement agencies investigating the crimes. These discoveries follow several recent incidents of ATM skimming in other states.

Millions Stolen in Credit Card Fraud Surge
October 2009
Australia’s Ninemsn reports a surge in credit card fraud at ATMs and EFTPOS facilities has seen Australians fleeced of tens of millions of dollars in recent months. A leading fraud expert says Australia’s outdated and insecure banking technology has made the country the target of Romanian credit card skimmers with increasingly sophisticated equipment.

Russian or Armenian Mob Used “Model Employee” Con at PCH Arco
June 2009
LA Weekly reports an organized-crime ring that police believe is Russian or Armenian targeted a high-volume Redondo Beach Arco gas station, assigned a low-level soldier to infiltrate it and waited eight months while he worked himself into a position where he could implant a tiny, high-tech “skimmer” to steal customers’ credit-card information. Armed with a fresh batch of personal-information numbers, the gang began draining thousands of Southern California bank accounts soon after “Erick,” the model employee who was by then entrusted with opening the station every day at 5 a.m., vanished in late April along with 1,500 packs of cigarettes, $1,000, a laptop, his employee application form — and the two digital video recorders used for surveillance.

D.C. Woman Sentenced in Library of Congress Identity Fraud
July 2009
The Washington Post reports a 35-year-old Southeast Washington woman was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for using the purloined identities of Library of Congress employees to purchases nearly $40,000 in goods. Federal prosecutors said Labiska Gibbs enlisted a relative, a Library of Congress worker, to access an internal database and give her the names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of at least 10 employees, prosecutors said. Gibbs used that information to open credit accounts at retailers, including Target and Victoria’s Secret.

International Credit Card and Identity Theft Fraud Ring Dismantled
May 2009
In a press release, the Queen’s County District Attorney announced that an international forged credit card and identity theft ring based in the New York- metropolitan area and with roots in Nigeria has been successfully dismantled following the indictment this week of forty-five individuals. The ring – which was comprised of three separate identity theft and forged credit card groups that employed multiple cells – is alleged to have been responsible for stealing the credit cards and personal credit information of thousands of American and Canadian consumers, costing these individuals, as well as financial institutions and retail businesses, more than $12 million in losses over the past year alone.

Four from Providence Charged in Identity Theft, $500,000 Credit-Card Fraud
May 2009
The Providence Journal reports three men and a woman used identity theft to get access to the credit-card accounts of more than 50 people at Bank of America and Citibank and then ran up more than $500,000 in bills at casinos, retail stores and car service centers, according to a federal indictment. The accused allegedly gathered identification information of the victims, which included names, birthdates, addresses and Social Security numbers. That information was then used to create false temporary drivers’ licenses in the victims’ names The indictment alleges that the men used a number of “ruses” to get duplicates of the victims’ credit cards from the two banks.

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