MARTINEZ, CA - Police announced the arrest of two men that they maintain ran an ID theft ring that used gas pumps to wipe-out bank accounts, KGO-TV reports.
The suspects, David Karapetyan and Zhirayr Zamanyan, targeted at least 20 Bay Area cities, and police say that they are responsible for at least 400 identity thefts, all originating at gas stations.
"They're stealing the identity and a pin number with a specific purpose of taking money from your account. So they drain the account and then they're done," said Martinez Police Commander Gary Peterson.
Martinez police said that the men used skimming devices to access people's bank accounts. A 7-Eleven clerk performing routine maintenance discovered the devices inside one of his store's pumps and notified police. Detectives installed a decoy device and apprehended the suspects when they came to retrieve it.
"When they searched their car they found maps and a GPS device with locations of other gas stations that we have found now have skimmers attached to pumps at those various gas stations," Peterson said.
Police estimated that skimming operations net $20,000 a day each.
"So it is a big operation," Peterson said.
The PCI SSC Skimming Prevention paper can be downloaded online.