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Local gas station skimmer schemes linked to cases across the nation

Posted at 5:05 PM, Oct 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-22 18:21:24-04

CLEVELAND — A tiny electronic device has been wreaking havoc on the lives of tens of thousands of people in our area and hundreds of thousands across the country. It's called a skimmer and it's placed on gas station pumps.

“You can pull up to a pump and have no idea your credit card is getting stolen,” said Secret Service Special Agent in Charge, Jonathan Schuck.

The skimmers have been confiscated from area gas pumps during Operation Caribbean Fury. The cases involve a sophisticated skimmer scheme that started with the indictments of twelve people two years ago, but still now, more arrests are expected.

“It’s was like an onion, the more I dug, the more we noticed it had links to Florida, links to Phoenix and Colorado,” said Secret Service Special Agent Todd Porinsky.

Those first arrests led investigators to four more rings of people across the country.

“They were opening up gas pumps, installing skimmers to steal credit card information and then using that information to make fake credit cards which they would use to go shopping and launder money through merchandise and gift cards,” said Porinsky.

The Secret Service believes around 60 people are involved in a scheme to steal credit cars from thousands of victims, costing consumers millions of dollars.

“The volume of fraud that they committed is almost incalculable,” added Porinsky.