NATIONAL Police Force officers arrested two people, a man and a woman, in Palma on charges of credit card fraud.
They had allegedly been using a centrally-located shoe shop as a cover for their operations, premises which attracted clients with its wide selection of original Italian shoe designs. The Police have tracked down six victims to date and the total amount of fraud has amounted to approximately 4'000 euros.
Various other people are believed to have fallen victim to the scam, but while no money was actually taken from their accounts, it is reported that there had been attempts made to read the balance of the accounts. According to Police sources yesterday, the suspects, (named as Rinda T., a woman from Thailand aged 33, and her boyfriend Calogeno N., an Italian aged 36) invited clients who bought articles from the shoe shop to pay with their credit cards. The fraudsters entered the card details on a computer but to complete the transaction, they requested the clients to tap in their personal identification number, or else write it down so that it could be used to secure the electronic purchase. It was through being tricked in this way that the client contributed involuntarily to providing the key information which enabled the thieves to tap into private bank accounts and take money out. Without the clients realising anything was wrong, the two detainees deftly swiped the cards across a magnetic reader band which had been secretly connected to a laptop computer. The machine had already been programmed to read and store private card data syphoned from the magnetic band of the clients' cards and subsequently their PIN numbers. So, before they had even approached an automatic cash dispenser and attempted to extract funds from the victims' current accounts, the alleged thieves had already produced cloned credit cards with the data obtained from the clients. Similarly, the couple were also allegedly found to be in possession of individual PIN numbers that had been innocently furnished to them.
After officers at Police headquarters had registered the location of the shoe shop and the household address of the detainees, they (the police) were able to track down further equipment used in the fraudulent operations. Equipment included two hidden magnetic band readers, a personal computer, 90 blank cards, a scanner, computer programmes to carry out credit card cloning and various electronic components which were being prepared for use in further illicit activity. The shop was in the Plaza Mayor complex in Palma and captured customers with huge discount offers.
In any credit card transaction, people are warned to keep track of their card and not to leave behind any copy of the transaction from which details can be obtained.