An 18 year old, picked up Thursday in Escazú, has been identified as the leader of a gang that cloned credit cards. The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the crooks made deals with service station attendants to obtain the electronic data from customers credit cards.
Four other persons were also detained Thursday on allegations of fraud via credit cards. At least two of those detained were identified as the individuals who would use the cloned credit cards to make major purchases of flat-screen televisions, computers and even live plants. They lived in Bellotas de Alajuelita.
Two others who were detained worked in a service station that was not identified by the judicial agency.
A report from the Judicial Investigating Organization said that the service station attendants had been provided devices known as skimmers that can read the electronic information contained within credit cards. This is the information used in cloning the credit cards, said agents.
The amount of the thefts is at least 2 million colons, some $3,800, said agents. The case involves four complaints from thefts in June, but agents did not dismiss the possibility that there would be more.
The use of skimmers is frequent by waiters, bartenders and, as the arrests show, service station attendants. There have been a string of similar cases. Many expats have taken to paying cash that has been extracted from bank automatic tellers. But there have been cases of crooks putting skimmers in the ATMs.