Heredia trio accused of cloning international credit cards for use here

Judicial police say two men and a woman in Heredia are suspected of cloning credits cards of persons who live in Perú and Spain. The trio is suspected of using the cards here to run up some 30 million colons (about $60,000) in charges.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that technical information about the credit cards came from accomplices in those two countries. But the cards were created here.

There were three raids Thursday morning to make arrests. The two men are 29 and 40. the woman is 30. The arrests were in Santo Domingo and San Pablo de Heredia.

There are at least six complaints, and agents have been working on the case since February, the agency said.

The victims in such cases usually are the merchants who have stores where the cloned cards are used. Many credit card companies will absolve cardholders of payments when there is an obvious crime. Then they reverse the billing and leave the local merchant holding the bag.

A credit card can be cloned easily with small electronic devices. There have been arrests in the Central Valley of restaurant workers who would scan the cards of diners for later cloning.

Sometime the accomplices are workers in various store who run up hefty charges without worrying about identification.

There are networks in which the information from stolen credit cards is channeled to many crooks at the same time. Usually the cloning doe not become apparent to the cardholder until the monthly statement arrives, although card companies maintain fraud departments to spot unusually purchases.

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