3 wanted for using fake ATM cards

3 arrested, 3 sought for using skimmers at automated teller machines

MIAMI - The FBI is looking for three men accused of using credit card skimmers to steal bank information at ATMs.

A federal arrest warrant was issued for Neamtu Vaduva, 23, Alin Velcu, 24 and Antonio Dumitru, 19 on Feb. 21.

The three are charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud.

Police arrested three others -- Aris Chiciu, 23; Eugen Bacelan, 29; and, Maurizio Margel, 19 -- on Friday. They face the same charges.

According to criminal complaints, the six used small, portable card-reading devices known as skimmers to steal ATM card information from bank customers using the machines.

"They'll use expired gift cards or something with a magnetic strip, you know, similar to an ATM card, and they just have to load that information on the magnetic strip and they have your pin so, they clone your card and they'd be able to go to any ATM to withdraw the money," said Luke Plesa with Sunny Isles Beach police.

Surveillance video showed a man placing a skimmer, a fake keypad, and a camera onto an ATM.

In total, the complaint alleges that, between December 23, 2012 and February 3, 2013, the six placed or attempted to place skimmers on ATMs at 18 bank branches, resulting in the theft of at least 407 bank customers' information, prosecutors say.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Vaduva, Velcu, or Dumitru is asked to call the FBI at 305-944-9101. Police say the three last lived in Broward County.

Tips to avoid being skimmed and scammed from law enforcement and banks

  • Carefully examine an ATM before you use it. If you see something different than what is pictured on the screen, or the keypad is unresponsive, please use another ATM. If the ATM appears to be malfunctioning, please do not enter your PIN code. Also, please report your suspicions to the bank or owner listed on the ATM. Be suspicious if you see anything loose, crooked, damaged, or if you notice scratches or adhesive/tape residue.
  • When entering your personal identification number (PIN), block the keypad with your other hand to prevent possible hidden cameras from recording your number.
  • If possible, use an ATM at an inside location.
  • Be careful of ATMs in tourist areas. They are a popular target of skimmers.
  • If your card isn't returned after the transaction or after hitting "cancel," immediately contact the financial institution that issued the card.
  • Be wary of nearby strangers or "Good Samaritans" that offer to "help" you if you are having difficulties with a particular ATM.
  • Ask people to step back if they're crowding too close to you at the ATM, or leave and come back at another time.
  • Have a friend accompany you when using an ATM after dark.
  • Check your bank statements regularly – if possible, even daily.

Copyright 2013 by Local10.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.