FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – New York prosecutors say an identity theft ring stole credit and debit card numbers at gas stations in Georgia, the Carolinas and North Texas. The crimes were part of an identity theft and money laundering operation that spanned the U.S.
Thieves replaced the credit card readers on gas pumps with devices that copies – or skims – information from the magnetic strips of credit and debit cards.
Cyrus Vance, Jr., New York County District Attorney explained, “The skimming devices were internally installed and, therefore, undetectable to victims who paid at the pump. The devices were also Bluetooth enabled, so the defendants did not have to physically remove the skimming devices in order to obtain the stolen personal identifying information.”
Indictments say the 13-member ring worked the scam in the DFW area between August and December of 2012 at numerous RaceTrac gas stations.
RaceTrac won’t reveal the locations.
Documents show a RaceWay was targeted in Mesquite during February 2013.
Prosecutors say the ring would steal identities in the South, and then use the account numbers at ATM’s in New York City and deposit the cash in banks there. Another ring member would immediately withdraw the money in California or Nevada.
According to court documents, in the year the ring is known to have operated the thieves stole more than $2,000,000.
RaceTrac says it’s fighting to combat high-tech identity theft.
The company released a written statement saying, in part:
“From implementing the latest pump security technology, to on-the-ground efforts at our stores, RaceTrac’s security procedures allow us to identify illegal activity, cease the activity and immediately notify law enforcement…”
Still, security experts say next time you’re at the pump, look at the card reader before you swipe your card.
Jeannette Kopko, with the Dallas Better Business Bureau, said, “If it looks damaged or just doesn’t look right, that’s a sign to walk away, go inside and pay in cash.”
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