Two in custody for suspected ATM tampering

SHALIMAR, Fla., May 10, 2018–Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office arrested two Romanians believed to be installing skimming devices on automatic teller machines in the area.

Skimmer-crop

The skimmer device (circled) is attached to the card swipe slot on a self-pay gas pump. Note that the skimmer sticks out further than the swipe slot. (Crestview Police Department)

Skimmers capture card and personal identification numbers from debit and credit cards. This information is then typically sold on the dark web to be used to make fraudulent purchases or withdrawals.

Based on information from the security people at Eglin Federal Credit Union, an OCSO deputy was searching U.S. 98 for the suspects’ gray Toyota Corolla with Georgia plates  May 5 when he spotted the car speeding eastbound around 8 a.m.

A traffic stop was conducted and the driver and passenger were identified as suspects spotted on surveillance video installing a skimming device and camera on an EFCU ATM machine in Mary Esther earlier that morning,

Two OCSO Economic/Financial Crimes Investigators responded and conducted interviews with the suspects and EFCU employees.

OCSO investigators obtained a confession from one of the suspects who said he was paid to participate in skimmer activity.

Investigators also established probable cause for an arrest, found out where the suspects’ hotel room was and executed search warrants on their vehicle and hotel room where further evidence was collected.

Viorel Antoanel Naboiu, 43 (left above), and Florin Bersanu, 31, are charged with use or possession of a scanning/skimming device and defrauding a financial institution.

Naboiu told an OCSO investigator he did not speak or understand English, but later spoke in English asking for his jacket because he was cold.

Both are being held without bond in the Okaloosa County Jail and are awaiting Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Investigators collaborated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security in the OCSO case.

How to avoid scammers

In a “Crestview Blue Review” from last fall, Crestview Police Sgt. Don Howe recommends drivers avoid using credit or debit cards on gas pumps at the ends of the row because they’re typically less visible to employees from inside the store and are easier for crooks to tamper with.

He also recommends being vigilant when using card swipe machines. Look for strange, out-of-place devices on the swipe unit and test it to make sure it’s secure, he said.  If it’s not, move to a different machine.

Because information is transmitted by Bluetooth, using the Bluetooth device on cell phones can help detect a skimming device. If a device is present, the cell phone shows a long string of numbers as it searches for the device and tries to connect.

Staff and OCSO release

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