HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Credit Card cloning from skimming is a fast growing crime.
Security experts estimate in the last year, direct losses from credit card skimming totaled $3 billion worldwide.
But, police say the criminals involved in these scams work locally and many times are part of organized rings.
Those crimes often begin in communities like Hillsborough. That’s where police were first alerted by a victim who said her credit card was used at an ATM at a strip mall on Mayo Street back on August 20.
Police investigated and in the last few weeks have found out the suspects worked only certain areas.
“The suspects appear to be getting off the interstate and a lot of the ATMs they’re hitting are directly off the interstates,” said Officer Chad Wilson, who is investigating the crime.
The ATM at 111 Mayo Street is less than a quarter mile from Interstate 85 in Hillsborough. That’s where two suspects were photographed using a cloned credit card.
Here’s how police say the crime was set up.
The suspects placed a skimmer at an ATM in Oxford where detectives say they obtained lots of credit card information.
Once they removed the device, they made copies of other people’s cards. Then, they came to Hillsborough to use that cloned card to withdraw money from the victim’s account.
Police say these two suspects are part of what they believe is a larger ring.
“Based on what I’ve seen, it’s probably at least 15 people throughout the state,” says Wilson.
He says investigators from multiple agencies around the state are involved because the ring is appears to be operating everywhere.
“It ranges from the mountains to the beach area,” he says.
CBS North Carolina caught up with Todd Moore who was using the ATM on Mayo Street.
He says he’s been victimized by credit card cloning in the past.
“A company out of Michigan was trying to use my card for newspapers, magazines and such, stuff like that.”
He says that upset him “a little bit.”
Todd says his bank detected the scam and alerted him after cancelling his card so no more charges would be incurred.
If you’ve been victimized, the Federal Trade Commission says losses are capped at $50 if you report it within two days. The FTC says cap is $500 if wait to report the incident within 60 days.
If you wait longer than that, the FTC says the losses are unlimited.
One way to check and see if there is a skimmer on an ATM is to wiggle the card reader and see if it’s loose. If it moves it’s probably been added on. Walk away and report it to authorities.
For more advice on how to protect yourself check against skimmer scams, use this link from the U.S. Treasury Department.
Email CBS North Carolina’s Steve Sbraccia if you have a consumer issue.