Three foreign nationals were charged Nov. 10 in Seattle with using ATM skimmers to steal credit card information from dozens of credit union and bank customers and using counterfeit cards to steal as much as $400,000 from area ATMs.

The three suspects are believed to be only a small part of the counterfeit cards ring, which is believed to have included carriers and other accomplices, according to Gregg Kats, vice president of risk management at BECU, who helped authorities to crack the local ring.

The three were charged with attaching the small devices–about two inches by one inch–onto ATMs and capturing PINs and other account information. That information was used to manufacture counterfeit cards which were used to withdraw cash at area ATMs.

“We helped law enforcement crack the case,” Kats told the Credit Union Journal yesterday. “We detected some suspicious activity and identified some of the points of compromise. We could pin down and essentially see these guys putting the devices on and taking the devices off. Then we turned the information over to law enforcement.”

The extent of the skimming is still being calculated, said Kats, who noted that BECU reissued as many as 200 cards because of the security breach.

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the payments industry

14-Day Free Trial

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the industry