Crooks 'secretly filmed customers' ATM transactions to steal $3 million'

February 12, 2013, 12:33 pm Halah Touryalai, Forbes Yahoo!7

Sophisticated crime.


Ever wonder how crooks end up withdrawing money from your bank account without your ATM card or pin number?

In an indictment today New York Attorney General lays out how a ring of alleged fraudsters stole information on 6,000 bank accounts in an elaborate scheme involving tiny cameras, skimming devices imported from Hungary and $3 million.

Preet Bharara’s office charged Antonio Gabor of Denmark and Simion Pintillie of Romania with bank fraud in the ATM scheme saying the two used high-tech skimming devices at ATM vestibules and ATM vestibule entrances, then recorded customers as they entered their pin numbers using “pin hole video cameras” they’d installed on ATM machines.

Between April 2012 and December 2012 the two used skimming devices (shipped from Hungary) on ATMs at JPMorgan Chase and Capital One in Manhattan, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Illinios.

When the devices were removed by the defendents and other co-conspirators they extracted the account information that was left behind–doing so 50 times and retrieving information on some 6,000 accounts and resulting in at least $3 million in unauthorised withdrawals, the NY AG says.

Photos: How thieves steal your credit card data

According to the complaint, the hidden cameras used to record customers pin numbers were connected to memory cards that stored the footage.

Once the devices and video footage were collected by other members of the fraud ring, the complaint says, they were delivered to Gabor and Pintillie who downloaded the information with corresponding pin numbers from the footage.

The defendants then encoded the stolen data onto the magnetic stripes of blank plastic cards (like store gift cards, for example).

Related: How safe is online shopping?

The newly created cards were then used as cloned bank cards to withdraw money from bank accounts.

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement, “While traditional bank robberies may be on the wane, the charges we bring today are a reminder of the threat that cybercrime poses to banks and their customers. Together with our law enforcement partners, we remain committed to stopping these alleged high-tech bank robbers in their tracks.”

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