Bluetooth-Enabled Skimmers Reap Millions from Fuel Pumps

Thirteen people have been charged with stealing millions of dollars from bank data collected from illegal skimmers installed at gasoline stations in South Carolina, Texas and Georgia.
January 24, 2014

​NEW YORK CITY – At least 13 people have been indicted for siphoning off millions of dollars via Bluetooth-enabled skimming devices installed at convenience stores in Georgia, South Carolina and Texas, Naked Security reports. The defendants stole the money more than $2 million, then laundered it through ATMs and banks in Manhattan.

“By using skimming devices planted inside gas station pumps, these defendants are accused of fueling the fastest growing crime in the country,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. “Cyber-criminals and identity thieves are not limited to any geographic region, working throughout the world behind computers. In this case, the defendants are charged with stealing personal identifying information from victims in southern states, used forged bank cards on the East Coast, and withdrew stolen proceeds on the West Coast.”

According to documents filed in court, the top four defendants used credit card skimming devices to copy credit and ATM numbers, as well as PIN numbers, which individuals used at RaceWay and RaceTrac convenience stores throughout Texas, Georgia and South Carolina. The skimming devices were internally installed and, therefore undetectable to victims who paid at the pumps. 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.

These top defendants then allegedly encoded that stolen information onto forged cards. From approximately March 2012 to March 2013, they used those forged cards to withdraw cash at ATMs in Manhattan, and then deposited that stolen money into bank accounts in New York that they had established. The other members of the scheme then promptly withdrew that money at banks in California or Nevada.

Meanwhile, the California Independent Oil Marketers Association (CIOMA) has alerted its members to a new skimmer that’s installed over the current card reader and “read” via a Bluetooth-enabled device.

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