THE Guardia Civil have prevented a massive credit card scam using a highly sophisticated “cloning” system, which could have netted millions of euros at the expense of tourists. Three Bulgarians were arrested when they arrived in Majorca, and have been accused of being the masterminds behind the scam, which police sources said was “almost infallible”. It consists of placing false keyboards over the cash points, so that when the client marks his pin number, the information would go straight to a computer controlled by the gang. The gang would be able to copy not only the pin number but the information on the magnetic band of the credit card and then use it “at any cash point in the world,” a Guardia Civil spokesman said. The three persons arrested were named as Kiril E T, aged 25, Kiril P L, 33, and Rosen Y K, 29. They were arrested at Son Sant Joan airport, as they left a flight from Sofia. None of them has a record in Spain, although Interpol will be asked if this scam has been noted in other countries.
All three had arrived on a tourist flight, allegedly to pass unnoticed. But airport police noted that they were carrying computer and electronic equipment considered too sophisticated for a tourist's needs. They were taken aside and searched and according to police sources were found to be in possession of dummy “slots” for credit cards, keyboard panels for the cashpoints, a portable computer, blank cards and cables. One of the officers involved in the arrest said that the idea was to place the false keyboards on various cashpoints, preferably at weekends, when there was less vigilance. Unsuspecting users would mark their pin number, which the gang could then transfer to a blank card, making a perfect duplicate.
The victim would not realise the theft until some time later, by which time the gang would have vanished.
The false keyboards were described as “a perfect and undetectable instrument,” so much so that it would not be noticed by the victim.
The portable computer, thanks to a modern programme, would have enabled the gang not only to “clone” the credit cards, but also transmit the information via internet and operate in several countries at the same time. The Guardia Civil say that thanks to this operation, they have aborted a mass fraud which would have damaged the image of Majorca.
They say that the accused had planned to stay in a hotel in the Playa de Palma for a week, and were planning to operate in tourist areas, as their victims would not realise they were being robbed until they returned home, and the complaints process would be more complicated.