Major skimming operation busted in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS - A major credit and debit card scheme was recently busted in Las Vegas.

While the alleged fraud was based here, investigators say it had ties around the world and the crime was an old scam.

Metro Police Detective Jeff Grace called it a "forgery lab."

"All they really care about is the magnetic stripe," he said. 

Grace showed a tackle box, full of plastic decoys and electronic gadgets designed to steal your money.

"Skimming is very prevalent, very popular and it continues to go on," he said.

Installing devices on places you swipe your credit or debit card, taking the information, and ripping you off. It's a common crime.

But Detective Grace says the people behind this were doing it bigger and better.

"The dollar amounts that they were getting were above the tens of millions of dollars," he said. "That's how good they were."

The "forgery lab" is evidence in a huge federal fraud case announced earlier this month in Las Vegas.

Federal prosecutors say a counterfeit card scheme operated for almost four years, stealing financial information, then using fake cards at high-end casinos and stores.

Investigators found much of what was bought was simply resold on the black market. The total loss was at least $3.5 million.

"They were averaging over $50,000 per card that they manufactured for fraud. That's a high-end group."

Twenty-one people were charged, but up to 60 were involved. Some suspects were arrested just before leaving the country. 

Police say consumers should keep an eye out for suspicious or tampered card machines. Importantly, don't use a debit card to buy gas. Those devices are easy targets.

 


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