TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: ATM Cards Pirated For Plenty, Police Say; Ploy Used Cameras

ATM Cards Pirated For Plenty, Police Say; Ploy Used Cameras

Monty Solomon (
Sun, 28 Aug 2005 01:58:24 -0400

By David Abel, Globe Staff

Using small cameras and secretly-installed ATM card readers, a thief
stole private bank card information from more than 400 ATM users in
Greater Boston and withdrew at least $400,000 from their accounts over
the past two years, police alleged yesterday.

Ioan Emil Codarcea, a Romanian national, allegedly mounted the spy
cameras and magnetic card readers on ATM machines in communities
throughout the region, including Canton, Cambridge, Needham,
Wellesley, and Woburn.

The magnetic card readers -- which looked legitimate -- were sometimes
installed on the doors leading to the ATM machines. Other times they
were mounted on top of an ATM's actual card reader. They recorded
users' card information while the cameras captured images of users
punching in their PIN numbers, which were transmitted to Codarcea's
laptop computer, police said.

Armed with the information, Codarcea duplicated the magnetic strips
and produced his own ATM cards, attaching a sticker on each where he
scribbled the PIN number, police said. Working with accomplices, he
then visited cash machines in downtown Boston and along Route 1, and
withdrew cash from the accounts, they said.

Many customers, police said, were not aware they were being victimized
until their banks notified them. Police did not name the banks
involved, but said the customers were reimbursed for the money stolen.

Police say this type of theft, known as skimming, is becoming
increasingly common.

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