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Thieves target two ATMs over two week period using identical technique

BIScom Subsection: 
Editorial Staff

Three people have been arrested, and cash, goods and items used in the commission of offences seized in Hong Kong as police investigate a rapid-fire ATM scam involving data written to mag stripe cards and used in just two ATMs over a two week period.

The value of goods and money seized is more than HKD750,000 say Hong Kong police who also recovered almost 200 blank plastic cards some of which had had third party data written to their magnetic stripes.

The three, two Bulgarians and a Canadian, were arrested after a bank noticed suspicious transactions at two ATMs in Central, Hong Kong. Chief Inspector Paul Bailey says that most of the data that the gang used related to credit card holders in France with some also from Italy.

The scam was simple: relatively small sums were withdrawn each time and then used to buy products including electronics and big-brand goods. iPhones, a Rolex watch and a Louis Vuitton bag are amongst the goods confiscated.

Scams of this nature are becoming increasingly widely used as a means of extracting money in a country to which the thieves have no obvious connection. Posing as tourists - or sometimes businessmen - they arrive in a country, raid bank accounts over a period of one to two weeks, buy branded items that can easily be sold overseas - often for a higher price than in the markets where they are bought. In this way, they launder the proceeds, expatriate the profits - and in some cases are cheeky enough to claim that they are in the import / export business and even declare their income as a means of avoiding suspicion.