Police discover elaborate credit card skimming operation

Card skimming suspects out of Columbus, Ind. (Photos: Columbus Police)
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One arrested in alleged card skimming operation

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WTHR) - In downtown Columbus, police discovered an elaborate credit card skimming and making operation.

Police say there’s at least one victim of the scam. One suspect is in jail, but police can’t identify him. Police say two other suspects are on the run.

Customers using the ATM out side the MainSource bank branch apparently had no idea thieves were nearby, stealing their credit card information and watching them enter their personal identification numbers.

"They are able to view that camera via Bluetooth, so as someone is popping in the numbers, the suspects are able to view that via the camera, as it is happening and they are able to retrieve the information, the card information from the skimmers, when they pull it off there," explained Columbus Police Lt. Matthew Harris.

A bank employee found the credit card skimmer Sunday during a routine check of the ATM. Police found the tiny camera hidden in a metal strip attached to the machine.

Columbus Police say they recovered card skimming equipment from the scene and the suspect's hotel room, including card makers (left) and a camera to steal customers' PINs. (right)
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In the suspects' hotel rooms, police found and assortment of electronics along with computers and cell phones they say were capable of using the stolen information to make new credit cards.

"It appears that how elaborate things are, this isn’t the first time they’ve done this," Lt. Harris said.

Police believe the suspects were in town for several days, perhaps a week. They were photographed by the ATM security camera. Detectives recognized them as the same persons seen on security cameras buying things from several stores, using at least one credit card made from the stolen information.

"That’s really scary," said Sarah Goldman, a mom who uses her credit cards a lot. "It seems as if they could go out and get a job for that amount of time, for the effort they are putting into it."

According to police, the jailed suspect has two European ID cards. Local and federal authorities are trying to identify him. Harris said he is not cooperating with investigators.

Police believe the other two suspects, a young man and a young woman, left town and hope someone recognizes them.

They are warning consumers to check their credit card bills. The one victim didn't know their credit card information had been stolen, until they will billed for things they didn't buy.

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