The federal government has indicted a “skimming” gang suspected of defrauding banks out of $1.5 million.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the four men allegedly participated in a scheme to steal customer information using sophisticated “skimming” technology that secretly recorded account data from bank ATM machines and teller PIN Pads.
Over the course of a year, the skimming gang is believe to have stolen nearly two million dollars from various branches of Citibank and JPMorgan Chase.
“This type of criminal activity unfairly targets individuals and businesses, ultimately resulting in compromised identities, significant economic impact, and the distrust of financial
instruments and institutions,” stated U.S. Secret Service agent Brian G. Parr.
“The Secret Service maintains strategic partnerships to combat this fraudulent activity and bring these perpetrators to justice.”
The four – named as Mihail Draghici, Ionel Dedulescu, Didi Theodor Ciulei and Laurentiu Mugurel Manta – allegedly employed two primary strategies to extract PIN information.
One is referred to as the replacement PIN pad method, which involves swapping a teller PIN Pad for an identical device that conceals a skimmer with wireless access capabilities.
The other method is commonly known as an “overlay,” because criminals place electronic skimming devices over legitimate ATM and bank PIN pads.
Because overlay devices look identical to the pads beneath them, customers are typically unaware of their presence – as they don’t actually interfere with ATM or PIN pad operations.