A scamming syndicate accused of installing card skimming devices and pin hole cameras in ATMs to steal money and create fake bank cards has been busted.
The group, allegedly linked to an international crime syndicate, had been operating across Australia’s east coast before two men were caught outside an ATM in Brisbane earlier this month.
Five foreign nationals from Romania and Poland have since been charged with a slew of money laundering and fraud offences.
The four men and a woman flew to Australia to install card skimmers and pin hole cameras hidden within bank-branded ATM parts, the Australian Federal Police said in a statement on Sunday.
Authorities received a tip-off from the United States Secret Service that syndicate members had sent ATM skimmers to Australia.
“Investigations identified that alleged syndicate members were operating in Australia and had allegedly received a number of suspicious packages believed to contain ATM skimmers sent from the United Kingdom, China and the US,” the AFP said.
A financial institution alerted authorities to a card skimming device and pin hole camera located in an ATM on Queen Street in Brisbane City on August 2, Queensland Police said.
The following day, undercover cybercrime detectives waited outside the ATM before spotting two men aged 37 and 21 approach the facility.
The pair allegedly attempted to run from the scene before they were caught by the officers and taken into custody.
Both were charged with possessing equipment for the purpose of committing or facilitating the commission of an offence and obtaining or dealing with identification information.
They face a maximum penalty of 14 years’ jail and are due to appear in court in September.
A search warrant executed on an Upper Mount Gravatt property and vehicle resulted in a third man’s arrest.
Within the property police allegedly located two pin hole cameras and several fraudulent identification items.
Another search warrant at a rental property in Sydney’s inner west netted $12,935 in cash, multiple skimming devices and false identity documents.
A 33-year-old man and 32-year-old woman were arrested and charged with money laundering offences.
They face a maximum 10 years’ imprisonment and are set to appear in court in October.
AFP Detective Superintendent Tim Stainton said Australia remained a lucrative target for cybercriminals.
“In this digital age, we know personal data has become incredibly valuable to criminals,” he said.
https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/crime-news/2023/08/13/atm-skimmer-scammers-busted/ ATM skimmer scammers caught red-handed: AFP