|The Bulgarian ATM gang scam|
Four Bulgarian nationals have been nabbed in Miami over hijacking ATMs and stealing at least 2 million dollars using tiny cameras and card readers.
Nikolai Arabov, 37; Stanimir Kolev, 36; Diyan Dobrev, 34 and Denislav Filipov, 19 all face charges involving grand theft,criminal use of personal identification and credit-card fraud, the Miami Herald reported.
''It was very satisfying,'' said the Miami Beach police detective who led six undercover colleagues in tracking down and arresting the four men, who are now in the Miami-Dade County Jail.
Authorities said they've been trying to catch the criminals for two years but managed to do so in the last few weeks after several area banks reported to Miami Beach police that customers complained about money being taken from their accounts.
The quartet used tiny cameras installed on ATM machines that recorded the victim's PIN number and devices that collected the account numbers. The Bulgarians then reprogrammed retail-store gift cards with the information to withdraw cash.
Police said that all four men were in the United States legally, on legitimate visas.
The Sophia Echo
Bulgarian held on $ 1 million bail in US over ATM scan
A Bulgarian national, known only as I.H, (28), is being held on $1 million cash bail after being charged in Quincy District Court with scamming bank customers at a Quincy Citizens Bank,Boston Herald said on January 29 2010.
The Bulgarian native, now a Canadian citizen living in Thornhill, Ontario, was involved in a scheme, authorities say, that covered a huge swathe of the state and affected untold unsuspecting people - including one Quincy cop, Boston Herald said.
This is just unravelling now," Boston Herald quoted Norfolk District Attorney William Keating as saying. "I suspect there’ll be many victims and hundreds of thousands (stolen), at a minimum,maybe seven figures, before it’s done."
According to Keating, the Bulgarian national snatched ATM card numbers by inserting a "skimmer" device in the slot where customers insert their card. He also installed miniature cameras at ATMs that recorded customers punching in their PINs.
Using that information, the Bulgarian national and at least two at-large accomplices allegedly created phony ATM cards to access the accounts of those concerned, Keating said.
The Bulgarian national was captured on January 27 2010 night with $1500 cash in his wallet shortly after leaving a Citizens Bank ATM on Hancock Street, where he illegally accessed customer accounts, Quincy police Capt. John Dougan said.
Florida cops withdraw Bulgarian ATM gang from circulation
Four Bulgarians were arrested in Miami Beach, Florida on April 10 on charges including placing mini-cameras in automatic teller machines (ATMs) to steal more than $2 million.
US news agencies and television stations reported that Nikolai Arabov (37), Stanimir Kolev (36),Dian Dobrev (34) and Denislav Filipov (19) had been charged with, among other things, grand theft, criminal use of personal identification, violations of the Communications Fraud Act,tampering with evidence and credit card fraud. Arabov was charged with possession of cocaine.
Reports said that law enforcement agencies had been pursuing the four Bulgarians for two years as they allegedly scammed victims from New Jersey to South Florida. The April 10 arrest followed two months of monitoring of the four as they allegedly used surveillance devices, including minicameras to capture PIN and account numbers. They then used blank cards with electronic strips and credit cards that they had acquired, which were reprogrammed to enable the four to draw cash.
Investigators said that this was the first time that they had encountered ATM theft through perpertrators putting equipment inside machines. The main method used was to install a minicamera in the ATM's overhead light fixture, and add a "skimmer" - a card-reading device - to the machine's card slot.
Police said that the arrests followed a series of complaints to local banks from customers who had found that money was unaccountably missing from their accounts.
It is alleged that in a search of a house used by the four, police found several books on espionage methods, money laundering, identity theft and document fraud, as well as equipment for getting into ATMs and bank account records. Also allegedly found was a quarterly journal on computer hacking. In addition, there were laptop computers - and a large amount of cash. Reports said that one of the Bulgarians had posed for a photograph amid the cash.
While it appeared that the four had entered the country on legitimate visas, US immigration authorities were investigating. Arabov, alleged to the ringleader of the group, was said to have in his possession passports in various names and fake driving licences.
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Queensland's Gold Coast hit by Bulgarian skimmers
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