BOSSIER CITY, La. - The Bossier Financial Crimes Task Force has cracked a suspected cloned credit card scheme wide open and arrested a man and a teenage boy in the process.
It all began in February when authorities got word of a theft from a local bank. Detectives found that the thieves used cloned credit cards at an ATM location in Bossier Parish to withdraw thousands of dollars in cash. The money was stolen from people in Texas, California, New York, and Michigan. Detectives say there was a total of 220 attempted transactions at the ATM; 40 transactions were approved for a total of just over $8,000 dollars stolen.
Bossier City Police used surveillance video to track down and arrest Marius Dinu, 30, and a 16-year-old boy, both of Romania, on charges of 40 counts of bank fraud and 180 counts of attempted bank fraud each.
Members of the task force tracked the pair to Harris County, Texas where they were taken into custody with the assistance of the Houston Police Department. Cloned credit cards, a credit card reader, a credit card writer, and a flash drive containing stolen credit card numbers were recovered.
Both suspects have been extradited. Dinu was booked into the Bossier Parish jail. The juvenile is being housed at the Ware Youth Center detention facility. Bail is set at $1 million for each.
In January, the Bossier Financial Crimes Task Force arrested a 15-year-old juvenile male on six counts of monetary instrument abuse in a similar case. Detectives are sharing this information in an effort to alert financial institutions and other law enforcement agencies who may be working similar crimes. Credit card holders are reminded to always practice credit card security, check accounts often, and report any suspicious charges or activity.
Sgt. Christopher Davis, with the Bossier Financial Crimes Task Force, said you can avoid becoming a victim of these types of crimes by paying for your gas inside.
He said card skimmers are now hidden inside the pump.
He also suggests checking for skimmers at ATMs.
"ATMs are obviously on the outside. There's nothing on the inside they can get to, but on the outside look for anything, check that, check that housing that your card goes in and out, make sure nothing's stuck over it, make sure you don't see things that are hanging off, anything that might stand out. If you do, obviously report it you know, call," said Davis.
Davis encourages people to check their credit report every 6 to 8 months, not just their credit card statement.