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May 27th, 2010

Authorities Shut Down Romanian ATM Skimmer Manufacturing Cybercriminal Ring

The Romanian organized crime police has dismantled a major cybercriminal ring that specialized in manufacturing and selling ATM skimmers. Law enforcement officials descended at more than 40 locations in several cities and detained 20 suspects.

Prosecutors from the Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) are investigating multiple individuals under the suspicion of being members of an organized crime group, unauthorized access to a computer system, possessing card-cloning equipment, access device fraud and distributing fake electronic-payment devices.

According to DIICOT, the criminal group operated out of Romania’s Dolj county, particularly the city of Craiova, where the ATM skimmers were assembled. However, some of the electronic components used for the devices were manufactured in Bucharest. The devices were either sold to other fraudsters or used by ring members in Italy, Germany, Sweden or Romania.

Teams of Romanian Police special forces raided 38 locations in Craiova, six in Bucharest and three in a neighboring county earlier today, taking a total number of 20 suspects back for questioning. Amongst them are the brother of a local magistrate and the son of a Ministry of Interior official.

In related news, two days ago, DIICOT also arrested five fraudsters after executing similar raids in the city of Brasov. The individuals are believed to be members of another cybercriminal group specializing in card cloning. According to prosecutors, EXEBA card magstripe reading/writing equipment was found and confiscated, along with various ATM skimming devices.

Romania, once a safe haven for cybercriminal operations, has made significant progress in combating organized crime that focuses on credit-card fraud, phishing or hacking. During the past two years alone, the Romanian DIICOT has managed to dismantle an impressive number of cybercriminal rings operating in the country and abroad. Many of these successful takedowns were the result of a close collaboration with the FBI, the US Secret Service, the INTERPOL and other foreign law enforcement agencies.

Credit: News

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