Russians Charged In Debit CardScam

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MOSCOW - (05/19/06) – In what authorities aredescribing as the tip of the iceberg, four Russians were arrestedand charged with using fake debit cards to drain more than $500,000from local ATMs on American bank and credit union accounts. Thefour suspects are believed to have obtained the card numbers andPINs from online hackers living in those western countries. Inreturn, the Russians are believed to have split the proceeds of thescheme with their overseas accomplices. U.S. authorities areinvestigating whether the suspects are connected to a broad debitcard theft in the U.S. in which hundreds of bank and credit unionaccounts were tapped at overseas ATMs–including several inMoscow and elsewhere in Russia. The theft caused dozens of thebiggest U.S. banks and credit unions to cancel and reissue as manyas one million debit cards. The Russians used blank cards withencoded magnetic stripes, without even bothering to make the cardslooks real, authorities said. Some of the cards were tapped for asmuch as $3,000. A raid of an apartment the suspects were renting incentral Moscow turned up more than 100 plastic cards, a database ofU.S. cardholders’ account information, and $60,000 in U.Scurrency.

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