Authorities Claim That Mobsters Are Using ATM-style Skimmers At Self-Checkouts Now

( – Bad actors are always looking for ways to scam people out of their money, including coming up with high-tech devices to pull sensitive data for them. That’s exactly what authorities warned is happening in California, and they’re advising consumers to keep their eyes open.

Skimming is a crime that happens when people illegally install devices on point-of-sale terminals, fuel pumps, or ATMs as a means of capturing card data, including PINs. In California, prosecutors are pursuing cases against several people, including members of the Romanian mob, who are allegedly installing skimmers at self-checkout counters. The devices look just like the real thing and are fooling people who simply want to pay for their goods.

When they get access to the data, the criminals are draining millions of dollars worth of resources from unsuspecting victims, including, according to Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer, “single mothers struggling to put a roof over their children’s heads and food on the table.” That includes taking money loaded on EBT cards at the beginning of each month. While victims struggle, the suspects are living in the lap of luxury, driving expensive cars and buying whatever they want.

Adding insult to injury, the state’s lax bail policies are leading many who are arrested back to the streets, where they’re free to do the same thing again while waiting for their court dates. Or worse, they’re cutting off ankle monitors and fleeing from justice.

Many of the suspects, according to Spitzer’s office, are “entering the United States illegally, mainly through the southern border,” and some are even seeking asylum. One of those arrested and convicted, Florin Duduianu, is on Romania’s most wanted list. He is due to be sentenced this week and faces up to 112 years in federal prison.

The FBI has partnered with Romanian police and has carried out 48 arrests, recovering more than $1 million and nearly a dozen luxury vehicles.

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