FBI Task Force Busts Credit Card Identity Theft Ring; 40,000 Local Victims Possible
According to NBC Los Angeles, a task force consisting of members from the FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has busted a alleged identity theft ring that reportedly stole from tens of thousands of credit card holders throughout California.
The alleged mastermind behind the operation, 39-year-old Albert Gonzalez, was arrested in February of this year. Since then, 11 more men have been arrested for being part of the criminal ring.
"When we arrested them, they had a thumb drive in their possession that had approximately 20,000 credit card numbers' information within the thumb drives," LA County Sheriff Detective Duane Decker told NBC.
The scheme affected more than 40,000 victims at more than 60 gas stations in the San Fernando Valley. The losses amount to roughly $4.5 million.
According to the news station, the task force spent four years tracking down the credit card skimmers. Investigators told reporters that the ring stole credit and debit card information by installing wireless skimmers in gas pumps. The stolen information includes the card number, zip code, and pin number- downloaded using Bluetooth in an encrypted format.