Californians Traveled To Hawaii To Skim CU, Bank Cards

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HONOLULU – Three men who traveled here from California last fall were charged with setting up card skimming devices at at least four local gas stations, then using the information to create counterfeit cards on six local credit unions and banks.

There were 194 victims at Hawaii State FCU, Hawaiian Tel FCU and four banks, from which $170,000 of fraudulent transactions were conducted, according to a grand jury indictment unsealed this week.

On Sept. 9 the three men traveled in a rented van to four undisclosed Aloha Island Mart gas stations around Oahu. The suspects parked the van in strategic locations so gas station employees could not see one of the suspects attach skimming devices to the internal hardware components of the gas pumps, according to court records.

During the next 15 days the skimming devices captured all of the data contained on the magnetic strip of credit and debit cards being used by customers to pay for gas, including sensitive PINs.

Once the suspects were satisfied enough information had been gathered, they allegedly used the same blocking technique with the rented van to retrieve the skimming devices at each of the four gas stations they targeted.

The three men returned to California in late September and began making counterfeit credit and debit cards from the information captured by the electronic skimmers.

The suspects, identified as Akop Changryan, Karapet Kalantryan and Araik Davityan, face various charges of identity theft, conspiracy to commit identity theft and fraudulent use of a credit card.

At least one of the suspects also was arrested in Long Beach, Calif., on similar charges.


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