Credit cards are international targets

Costa Ricans, expats and tourists continue to be vulnerable to crooks when they use their credit or debit card at a restaurant, store or even an upscale hotel. Crooks have infiltrated all these locations with the goal of stealing credit card information.

These highly organized international gangs then use runners to visit automatic teller machines to steal the cash.

The Fuerza Pública said that was the case about 7 p.m. Saturday when a man made the mistake of trying to block the lens of a security camera at a Banco de Costa Rica machine. The bank machine was in San Pedro de Poás but the company’s security officers were watching from afar. They called police.

Officers managed to surround the automatic teller while a suspect still was inside. He was identified as a Romanian. An accomplice in a vehicle managed to escape, the Fuerza Pública said.

The suspect had 1.8 million colons, about $3.360, and a number of cloned credit or debit cards, they said. If this is a typical case, police will find that the cards come from all over the world.

In just a few minutes using modern equipment, crooks can clone a credit card. Typically this is done out of sight of a customer after the card holder has offered the plastic for a purchase.

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