Breaking News in the Industry: November 21, 2017

Eight indicted for $3.5 million in gas station credit card fraud in Kentucky

Eight people have been arrested in connection with credit card skimming fraud investigations spanning multiple states including Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. At a news conference Friday in Louisville, representatives from the United States Attorney Western District of Kentucky’s office, Kentucky FBI, Secret Service and the Louisville Metro Police Department announced results of the fraud bust. The eight individuals face charges on alleged incidents at 6 Lousiville gas stations on. The incidents at these locations account for 7,000 individual card numbers that were compromised, leading to an estimated $3.5 million in losses. The defendants — Misael Jose Fernandez Campos, Pabel Anguela-Vazquez, Andres Tomas Alvarez Hernandez, Leonardo Rodriguez Prado, Yusbel Folgosso Parrado, Miguel Yansel Castillo Fornaris, Noseln Hernandez Guerra and Lisandra Diaz Garcia — have been indicted by a federal grand jury and face charges that include possession of device-making equipment, conspiracy to commit mail and bank fraud, money laundering, wire and bank fraud. The investigations, which go back to 2015, involve 22 law enforcement agencies across the three states including departments from Clark, Scott and Harrison counties.

“This form of identity theft is causing untold losses to both financial institutions and individuals who are merely filling their tanks at the gasoline pump,” Russell Coleman, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, said in a news release. “As we begin the busiest travel season of the year, consumers need to pay special attention to where and how they pay for gasoline as criminals are using new and more sophisticated technologies.” Skimmers may be secretly installed in places where people commonly use credit and debit cards — most often gas pumps and at times public ATM machines. The skimmer is placed inside the machine and acts as a USB — when the unknowing consumer swipes or inserts their card, the information is then recorded and can be used to make fraudulent purchases or clone the cards. Once a skimmer is installed, someone usually has to return to the scene to retrieve it, but increasingly they are using bluetooth skimmers, the data from which can be scooped up from 50 feet away. Cellular skimmers work in a similar way and don’t require the suspect to return to the machine. Amy Hess, Special Agent with the Kentucky FBI, said that this is a “significant problem across the country.” “It is invisible to consumers, who do not see anything nefarious going on,” she said at the news conference. Suspects gain access to the pumps or other machines by way of a key or through tampering. But this also requires them to work quickly in the public space and obscure their actions from the clerks or cameras. Richard Ferretti, Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service, announced the use of a special blue tape placed on gas pumps in the area. It warns criminals and lets the public and station owners know if the machine has been tampered with by an outside person.  [Source: News Tribune]

LP associate cut at store after confronting shoplifter; suspect in custody

One man is in police custody after allegedly stabbing a loss prevention associate at a Walmart in North Delta, British Columbia, Canada early Saturday afternoon. Police said an LP associate at the Walmart on 120th Street confronted a man suspected of shoplifting at around 12:30 p.m.
The man then stabbed the guard, Delta Police said. “The suspect fled southbound and the Delta Police responded. Within minutes they had containment established and deployed a canine unit,” she said. The suspect, a man in his mid-20s of no fixed address, was arrested a few blocks away, she said. The guard was taken to hospital and is suffering non-life threatening injuries, Brooks added. Police are recommending several charges, including robbery and breach of conditions. [Source: Global News]

$14,000 ring stolen from California mall jewelry store

Police in Riverside, California, are asking for help to identify a man they say stole a $14,000 ring from a mall jewelry store last month — and may have tried the same thing in San Bernardino and Arcadia. The man went into the Zales Jewelers at the Galleria at Tyler about 3:30 p.m. Oct. 9, looked at the ring, then ran out with it, police said in a news release. He left in a gray four-door sedan with paper plates. The ring is described as a 2-carat white gold diamond solitaire engagement ring, according to police. Just before going to the Riverside store, police say, the same man visited a Zales in San Bernardino. Police released surveillance video that shows him walking into the store, peering into cases, talking to several salespeople and sitting in a viewing room. Riverside police also said a theft similar to the one in Riverside, by a man with a similar description, happened in Arcadia in September. They said the Riverside thief was black, 20 to 30 years old, 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, with tattoos on both arms and possibly a scar or mark on his left eyebrow. He wore jewelry, including a large gold chain necklace, rings and earrings. Police asked anyone with information to contact Officer Jesse Castro at 951-343-1859.  [Source: Pasadena Star-News]

Man steals from store, pepper sprays and assaults LP associate trying to stop him

Authorities in Merced, California, are looking for a man in Merced who they say stole $1,000 worth of merchandise from Kohl’s and then pepper sprayed an assaulted the loss prevention associate who tried to stop him on Wednesday. Officers of the Merced Police Department responded to Kohl’s department store about a robbery around 1 p.m. The store’s loss prevention team reported to police that a man had taken at least $1,000 worth of merchandise, and they tried to stop him from leaving the store.  They told police that when the LP associate tried to detain the suspect, the suspect sprayed the employee with pepper spray and then physically assaulted them. The suspect was last seen getting into a red Honda and fleeing the mall, police said. Anyone with information about the suspect or the crime should call Officer Richter at (209) 388-7801 or the Police Department Tipster Line at (209) 385-4725. The public can send information via anonymous text messages to police department by dialing “TIP411” (847411) and including the word “Comvip” as the “keyword” in the text message.  [Source: Your Central Valley]

Three Florida men convicted of credit card skimming in Minnesota

Three Florida men have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a gas pump credit card skimming operation. Roilan Garriga, 20, Wilbur Perez-Soca, 24, and Asleys Acosta, 28, each pleaded guilty to five counts each of felony identity theft in Hennepin County District Court, according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce. They will be sentenced on January 8, 2018. Garriga and Perez-Soca are expected to receive between 41 and 57 months in prison. Acosta, who has credit card fraud convictions from Florida, agreed to a sentence in the range of 60 to 90 months. During their court hearings, the men admitted they traveled from Florida to Minnesota for the sole purpose of stealing credit card information by installing skimmers on pumps at several gas stations. Using forged credit cards with the stolen information, they went on shopping sprees in the Twin Cities, including stores at the Mall of America, nightclubs and restaurants. Police arrested the men in Minneapolis on Nov. 12, 2016. Officers found equipment used to install and monitor credit card skimmers in the men’s van, along with more than 20 debit or prepaid credit cards encoded with personal information from a Minnesota resident.  [Source: Twin Cities Pioneer Press]

Minivan mom help police chase down shoplifting suspect

Krystal Tukuafu has used her minivan to haul furniture and as a camper. Now, Tukuafu can boast that she used her minivan to help a police officer chase down a shoplifting suspect and arrest him. On Wednesday, Tukuafu was shopping with her 3-year-old son when she noticed an American Fork police officer running after a man. Tukuafu, who has about 1,000 followers on Instagram, began live-streaming the chase. She followed the men for a while as the chase unfolded. But then, Tukuafu said she pulled up next to the officer in a parking lot. “I was like, ‘Hey, you want a ride?’ And he just yanked my door open, got in and was like, ‘Follow this guy,'” she said. At that point, Tukuafu said she was both shocked and excited at the same time. “I didn’t know if I knew how to get there as quickly as he wanted me to. I didn’t even knew if I had my seat belt on and I’d get in trouble for it,” she said. Tukuafu pursued the fleeing man in her minivan. She got within 5 feet of him before slamming on her brakes so the officer could jump out with his Taser, order the man to stop and arrest him. “I was excited that I was with my son because he was like, in heaven. He kept saying, ‘So cool, so cool,’” she said.  Steven Glen Munson, 34, of Salt Lake City, was arrested and booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of shoplifting and failing to stop at the command of an officer.  [Source: KSL News]


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