Ozone Park? Sounds like the punch line to an air pollution joke but it's a real place.
The first charge went through. The second charge emptied our account.
Although we didn't plan it that way, it turns out that keeping a minimal amount in the bank account that is attached to the card that you use when you're out and about is a good idea.
We had overdraft protection, but it's probably better not to have overdraft protection for your "out and about" credit/debit card when it comes to fraud because the card with stolen numbers might not be denied, if you have overdraft protection. I'm not sure about that. It might depend on your banks policy.
The dollar amount stolen was under $100.00. Betty caught the fraud early on a Sunday morning minutes after it happened when she checked our bank account. It could have been worse.
It happened a few weeks ago. The two charges and the overdraft charges have not been resolved yet.
It doesn't help that when Betsy was trying to report the fraud to the bank, the "reporting fraud" phone number she was given was the "additional services" promotion number.
It might take a few more days or weeks to get the charges to our bank account reversed. We're lucky. Some people are ruined by 'skimming fraud'.
I imagined what happened:
A card reading device was installed inside a gas pump somewhere near or in Coatesville, PA. A tiny camera lens was placed nearby. Betty's debit card was skimmed locally in the Coatesville area, likely at a gas station along with many other cards. After a few hours the skimmer was removed. The information from the skimmer was sent by email to either Bulgaria or Romania. An email came back to the skimmers with coding to make up credit cards or gift cards.
Someone in the New York City area bought a gift card at a discount price* or someone used a new credit card with Betsy's numbers on it and bought gas at the Ozone Speedway,
*A few months ago at the Giant Store in Thorndale, PA a man tried to sell Betty and me a $50.00 gift card for $20.00.The person who installed the skimmer was almost certainly a Bulgarian or Romain national, much less likely a Russian or Ukrainian national and not born in the USA.
It's different on the West Coast and like everything from the California area, high tech. The persons involved are mostly U.S. born, living in Las Vegas, NV and California. The names appear to me to be Armenian. This criminal gang eliminated the need to pull out the card reader to retrieve information. A bluetooth enabled card reader was installed at gas pumps in the southern United States:
In-depth security news and investigation
Authorities in New York on Tuesday announced the indictment of thirteen men accused of running a multi-million dollar fraud ring that allegedly installed Bluetooth-enabled wireless gas pump skimmers at filling stations throughout the southern United States.
About 1/2 of internet related crime on earth comes from former Soviet Bloc countries. Where criminal hackers are national heroes, so long as they don't hack local companies. The Democratic Party's claims that Putin stole Clinton's emails is made up nonsense. But that's another story.
SEE VIDEO BELOW; "POLICE WORK TO CURB GAS STATION CREDIT CARD SKIMMING"
"According to Kostov's plea agreement and other court documents, from at least September 2009 through February 2011, Kostov was part of a conspiracy that affixed small ATM skimmers imported from Bulgaria and miniature cameras to bank ATMs throughout Maryland to capture account information from each card inserted into the ATM machine and the PIN numbers as bank customers entered them.
Once the ATM skimming device was removed from the ATM, it would be plugged into a computer and the captured information would be sent to additional co-conspirators in Bulgaria, through the use of constantly changing e-mail addresses.
The Bulgarian co-conspirators e-mailed the stolen account information back in a format in which Kostov and his co-conspirators could then encode the magnetic striUIKeyInputUpArrowps of plastic cards, such as gift cards, with the compromised account information, creating counterfeit debit and credit cards.
The conspirators then used the counterfeit cards and the corresponding stolen PINs to make unauthorized withdrawals directly from the victims' bank accounts."
AEGIS STAFF REPORT
"According to his plea agreement, on July 20, 2016, Bulgarian Customs Officers contacted U.S. Secret Service agents after they identified what they believed to be an illegal “ATM skimming device” concealed within a black and green nylon pouch, which is capable of reading the encrypted information contained in the magnetic strip on the back of a credit or debit card. The pouch had been discovered during a routine screening of international shipments scheduled to depart from the airport. The pouch was enclosed inside a shipper’s plastic delivery envelope with a packing slip attached addressed to “Marin Penev” at an address in Randallstown. Bulgarian authorities sent photographs of the device and envelope to the Secret Service.
On July 21, 2016, members of the USSS Maryland Electronic Crimes Task Force arranged a controlled delivery of the envelope and its contents once it arrived in the United States. On July 26, 2016, Enev picked up the package, providing a Maryland driver’s license in his name as identification. Special Agents of the USSS and Baltimore County Detectives followed Enev to a residence in Randallstown. The owner of the residence advised agents that Enev rented a room on the first floor of the residence and provided agents with Enev’s telephone number. A Secret Service agent called the phone number and spoke to Enev who agreed to exit the residence. Enev came out of the house and was taken into custody.
Search warrants were executed at Enev’s residence and his vehicle. From the vehicle, law enforcement recovered the opened shipping envelope, which was empty; one box containing 15 pre-paid gift and credit cards capable of being recoded with fraudulently obtained financial proceeds, along with various business cards; and three paper receipts indicating the reloading of a pre-paid gift card in the amount of $270. The search of Enev’s living area recovered: the black and green nylon pouch containing an ATM skimming, which matched the photographs of the device sent by Bulgarian authorities; two other ATM skimming devices inside the hall closet, along with a magnetic card re-encoder and 40 blank white credit cards; a desktop computer and cellular phone; and prepaid credit cards found in a desk and in Enev’s wallet. Also located in the wallet was a Maryland driver’s license bearing his name and photograph, and a Bulgarian identification card bearing Enev’s photograph. His Republic of Bulgaria driver’s license and European Union identification card were also seized during search.
Bulgarian National Pleads Guilty to Possession of a Device to Make Fraudulent Credit and Debit Cards
Defendant Believed to Be Part of an Ongoing International Identity Theft Ring
Baltimore, Maryland – Martin Aleksandrov Enev, age 27, a Bulgarian national residing in Randallstown, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to possession of device-making equipment with the intent to defraud.
"It’s usually either Romanian or Bulgarian criminals who are involved in skimmer fraud, both in Europe and here in the U.S.,”'said Hayes. 'With regard to other types of payment card frauds, very often it involves U.S. hackers or sometimes hackers from Russia or former Soviet nations.'
The U.S. ranked number one in the world in terms of financial losses associated with skimming fraud in the first six months of 2011, followed by the Dominican Republic, Russia and Brazil.
Skimmer technology has existed for many years and has advanced over time, Hayes pointed out. Without significant steps to combat such activity, it is likely to continue to escalate. The Aite Group has reported that in 2011 the average loss from skimming crime was $50,000, an increase of $20,000 from the previous year.
'This is a war being fought at the ATM and the gas pump, at the intersection of street crime and tech crime,' said ACCA USA head Warner Johnston. 'As criminals become more sophisticated, they are devising creative ways to separate consumers from their cash.”'
Hayes’s report identifies different ways in which skimmer scams are cropping up across the globe.
'Devices are becoming smaller and have more memory,”'Hayes said. 'The quality of data on the devices has improved over time, and skimmers often are password protected and use advanced encryption protocols.'...
The United States is pivotal for criminal gangs because it has more ATMs than another country and because it is not EMV-compliant (as the cards do not contain a global chip), once its EMV cards are skimmed they can easily be cloned. Cards that are cloned by criminals are also used in other non-EMV countries, such as Ghana, Costa Rica, Mexico and Malta. EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa...
'The issue is that if you have a chip, the chip cannot be cloned because with every transaction that chip has a counter and generates a new number,' said Hayes. 'So the criminal can’t predict what the next number is going to be because it’s based on an algorithm that only the card issuers have. And so you could still skim a credit card that has an EMV chip, but you’re limited in where you can use it. You can only really use it in a non-EMV country like the U.S., which has terminals and ATMs that don’t read the chip. Most modern nations have upgraded and adopted EMV and are compliant with EMV. Banks over here have been reluctant to do so.
There may be some reluctance because of the tremendous cost involved with the adoption of EMV. The U.S. has the most number of ATMs in the world, and upgrading those ATMs is a tremendous expense. In my report, I mention that 18 percent of the ATMs in the U.S. are a decade or older.”
Skimmer Fraud on the Rise
BY MICHAEL COHN
MAR 7, 2014 1:10PM ET