Breaking news from Las Vegas Metro’s Kim Thomas, the fraud cop featured in my story on credit card skimmers hidden in gas pumps.
Detective Thomas writes:
I read the post you did with my picture. It was very impressive. At the end you said a thief attached a skimmer in eight minutes. I just wanted to give you a small correction. We found that the one on the side of the gas pump drawer was attached in about 11 seconds, so if you add in opening the door, you’re looking at about 30 seconds (and that’s us fumbling with the key). So here’s the process: put the key in the lock, open the door, slide out the drawer, unplug the two cables from the gas pump connectors (keypad and reader cables), slap on the device, plug the two gas pump cables into the skimmer, plug the skimmer cables into the gas pump connectors, slide the drawer in, close the outside door, turn the key, remove it, test with a known credit card (outside the process of hooking the skimmer because anyone seeing you do that would assume you’ve doing something legitimate. Sounds like a lot, but look at a watch, close your eyes, and envision the process, then look at the watch and see what kind of time you get. It’ll probably amaze you. Now imagine practicing it a bit on your own gas pump either in your storage unit or living room or buddy’s gas pump. Now you’ve gotten faster and smoother, so you’re faster. See?
Thomas continues on the frightening trajectory of credit card fraud:
This type of crime used to be done strictly by hi-tech crews, but now we’re seeing it done by Joe and Julie the tweeker people (common street criminals), the traditional black crews who used to be just check passers and bust-out crooks, and the Hispanic immigrant groups who have always supplied ID documents (to name a few groups). There’s just so much money and property in this.
I just asked for a warrant on a member of a group of rich college kids (who bought a $7,500.00 watch in a high end Fashion Show Mall store) who have been buying numbers skimmed from American hotel chains in Europe, then using that track data to make counterfeits (this is a good way to do it because the cards are from American customers and less likely to raise a red flag with the bank looking at the transaction since it’s used in the US), which they then use at stores here, in SoCal, and in Arizona. They then take the property and sell it. The kicker is that all these kids are Mexican nationals whose parents are so wealthy they have their kids going to school at American Universities.
See our pickpocket summary page.