Investigators detained two men Thursday on allegations that they used cameras and electronic devices to steal data from debit cards at automatic tellers.
The crime involved the use of so-called skimmers that are inserted into the opening where debit cards are inserted. A bank customer inserts his card unknowingly over the device, which then steals the information on the magnetic band of the card.
In addition, the Judicial Investigating Organization said that crooks placed tiny cameras at automatic tellers to videotape the personal identification numbers that customers used.
Roberto Méndez, director of security at Banco Nacional, applauded the arrests and said that the crooks were spotted by the bank’s own cameras.
One of the men arrested is from the Czech Republic. The other is from Romania.
Judicial investigators said they had been working on the case for nearly a year.
Two raids took place in San Pedro. Agents said they obtained fake debit cards, the devices used for skimming, tiny cameras, machines used to copy credit card information and even clothing
that matched that worn by crooks caught on the bank cameras.
Investigators estimated the loss as a result of the skimming at 110 million colons or about $200,000 from the accounts of about 250 bank customers.
Well known to police agencies is that there is a large, organized gang of European computer savvy crooks who practice these types of frauds.