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Trend Watch: Credit Card Skimming

Redbox-thumb-skim Based on a flurry of different reports last week, the hot crime of the summer may be credit card "skimming."

First, Seattle PI reported that you now have another thing to worry about when you stop at a Wendy's (beyond possibly getting your ass kicked in the drive-through line). In Seattle, at least, one enterprising Wendy's worker allegedly attempted to supplement her income by using a credit card skimmer to steal credit card information from at least 135 customers, leading to $75,000 in known fraudulent activity in those customers' accounts.

King County detectives believe the employee used a hand-held skimmer to lift credit card information. A search of her home and car "uncovered 14 Playstation 3 consoles, as well as several skimmers, a credit card encoder and credit card stock," and she reportedly had a skimmer on her person when she was arrested July 21 at the Wendy's restaurant.

Detectives think the number of known compromised accounts will rise exponentially as they learn more, as the employee "has personally served approximately 2,000 customers between September 2009 through January 2010." She has been charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree identity theft, nine counts of second-degree identity theft and two counts of unlawful factoring (unlawfully copying a credit card).

Credit card skimming also seems to be on the rise elsewhere. On Friday of last week, a Cheesecake Factory employee pleaded guilty to a card-skimming scheme that targeted customers at the chain's Northwest Washington, D.C. location. On Thursday, The Ledger reported that law enforcement officials in Gainesville, Florida are warning motorists that illegally installed credit card skimmers are showing up in gas station pumps as part of what appears to be a statewide theft ring. Police are "cautioning consumers not to pay for their gas at the pump, but rather inside the station."

Posted by Bruce Carton on August 2, 2010 at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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