HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - An undercover detective says more and more waitresses and waiters are using portable skimmers to copy customers' credit cards in exchange for money from a middle man.
"This is a portable skimmer device that is used by individuals who are attempting to copy legitimate card holders," said the undercover detective.
"Who has that device," asked Local 10's Jeff Weinsier.
"A server in a food establishment," said the undercover detective.
The skimmer was confiscated after it was found inside the apron of a waitress at a popular South Florida restaurant. When customers handed her their credit cards to pay, she would scan it through the restaurant's machine and her portable device.
"That quick. Less than a second," said the undercover detective. "Later that evening, they would meet up with an individual who would take this info and turn it into a clone card,"
The undercover detectives said that in the last two months, the skimmer scam has exploded. And, it could become bigger with the holidays fast approaching.
"Extremely prevalent. There are people who have been setting up and buying the equipment, getting ready and getting them in place in expectation of higher volumes of customers coming through because of the holiday shopping season," said the undercover detective.
Police say it's extremely profitable for the waiter or waitress who uses it.
"They are making between $10 and $100 per account number that is recorded on this device and provided to the middle man," said the undercover detective.
"She was scanning my card with her phone. It was a little piece that was white. She had it in her apron here," said Ava Bradley.
Bradley said her waitress at a chain restaurant was sending her credit card number to a middle man using an iPhone and that person immediately began charging online purchases. Her credit card company began sending her messages while she was eating dessert.
"Before I could even leave the restaurant, I started getting text messages on my phone of charges. I had just gave her my card," said Bradley. "Now, I try to go and get cash before I get to a restaurant and pay in cash.
"You don't use your credit or debit anymore?" asked Weinsier.
"No," answered Bradley.
The undercover detective said several arrests were made in connection with the skimmers, but didn't specify on who or how many were been charged.
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