Thieves scan card data from US gas stations via Bluetooth-enabled strategy

ATMs are usually made of molded plastic and have to be attached onto cash machine hardware. The color and texture could well not match, the fit likely won’t be exact, and the skimmer could be a little loose.

In fact, when Australian detectives warned about skimmers during the holiday season back in 2012, the advice we passed on was to grab anything device you’re putting your card into and give it a good wiggle.

That, clearly, is no help here, given the internally installed skimmers used, but I pass it on because it’s good advice in other skimmer scenarios.

At any rate, having Bluetooth-enabled devices made it easy for thieves to get at the stolen data without having to physically remove the skimming devices.

Not that wireless-enabled credit card skimmers are new, mind you. safety journalist Brian Krebs has cataloged all sorts of skimmers, with some that even send information to fraudsters’ phones via text message.

With their Bluetooth-enabled card skimmers, the defendants in this case supposedly spent just over a year – between 26 March 2012 and 28 March 2013 – using the forged cards at ATMs in Manhattan, siphoning funds out of their victims’ accounts in increments under $10,000.

Credit cards. Image courtesy of ShutterstockKeeping the withdrawals under $10,000 avoided money transaction reporting requirements.

They then allegedly deposited the stolen money into their own bank accounts in New York.

Originally arrested and charged on 21 March, 2013, the four lead defendants are now facing a 426-count indictment with felony charges of money laundering, criminal control of stolen property, grand larceny, criminal possession of a forgery device, and criminal possession of forged instruments.

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