West Covina Police DepartmentWest Covina Police Department
1444 West Garvey Avenue South
West Covina, CA 91790
(626) 939-8500


Subject :

Contact :Corporal Rudy Lopez    626-939-8685
DATE OF RELEASE: May 30, 2011

On May 22, 2011, two Glendale men were arrested in West Covina for possession of counterfeit access (credit) cards. Each of these cards were blank but contained account number information encoded on the magstripe and corresponding PINs written on them to legitimate bank accounts. In the suspect’s possession at the time was nearly $6000.00 in cash, all in twenty dollar bills. It is believed that the suspects were going to various ATM machines, and making cash withdrawals from the accounts embedded in the magstripes. Coincidentally, Investigators also found 3 gas pumps to gas stations near the location of the arrest where skimming devices were found attached internally. Each of these skimmer devices are capable of capturing and storing up to 10,000 accounts and PINs.

HOW: The suspects will covertly open a gas pump and attach a skimmer device internally. The skimmer will then capture the account number and the PIN entered by the customer. The suspect later retrieves the skimmer containing account information or receives data transmitted from the Bluetooth type device placed in the gas pump. Once obtained, the suspect will encode a blank credit card magstripe with the customer account information and writes the PIN on the face of the card. Once completed, the suspect will then go to an ATM and make the maximum cash withdrawal permitted by that bank. The suspect will usually attack the accounts within 24 to 48 hours after the account information was obtained.

The West Covina Police Department is warning the public of this type of fraud. Although there is no way to detect if a gas pump has been tampered with, it is recommended that if you are using your ATM debit card for gas purchases at a point of sale terminal, use the Credit feature instead of the Debit feature. This will prevent your PIN from being revealed. If using your ATM card for other types of purchases, using the Credit feature will require you to sign your name which also protects you.
If at all possible, use a credit card for your purchases rather than the ATM Card. It is more difficult to make cash withdrawals and you are better protected by the financial institutions.

Check your account as often as possible. If you detect a transaction that is not familiar to you, immediately contact your bank and inquire. Remember, cash withdrawals are limited to a set amount per day. If the fraud goes undetected, someone can make daily withdrawals until your money is depleted.
Press Release issued by Corporal Rudy Lopez, PIO. For more information call 626-939-8685.
Approved by_______________________ Date: _________

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