Jared Savage

Jared Savage is the New Zealand Herald's investigations editor.

Card skim thieves may be locals

Police say length of time wanted pair have been stealing from Auckland ATMs suggests they live in NZ

These two men are believed to be withdrawing cash from Auckland ATMs with counterfeit cards.
These two men are believed to be withdrawing cash from Auckland ATMs with counterfeit cards.

Police believe two men withdrawing cash with counterfeit bank cards from around the world could live in New Zealand - the first time residents have been involved in a crime normally committed by foreigners.

The pair have tried to use cloned cards more than 200 times to withdraw $75,000 from the ANZ bank machines but have only been able to steal $12,000.

Other banks are still gathering a list of fraudulent transactions for police. But the suspects were active as recently as Wednesday night, trying to withdraw money 27 times from four ATMs in Pakuranga, Mt Wellington and Glen Innes in east Auckland.

The data on the counterfeit cards has come from Australia, Canada and the United States, and one of the men looks similar to someone who placed a skimming device on an Auckland bank machine.

Detective Senior Sergeant Aaron Pascoe said police are concerned that an international organised crime group is targeting New Zealand to collect data from skimming cards - to send to associates overseas - and also to use counterfeit cards from data skimmed in other countries.

A skimming device was found on November 11 and the two unidentified men have tried to use the counterfeit cards between November 19 and Wednesday night.

"Given the length of time they have been active in Auckland, we're beginning to believe that they live in New Zealand," said Mr Pascoe, head of the Auckland financial crime unit. "If so, this would be the first time residents have been involved in what is a global crime."

He said the suspects target ATMs in the late afternoon or early morning, often trying multiple cards in quick succession.

Last Friday, the pair tried 64 transactions at three different cash machines in a window of less than three hours.

The pair have tried to use cards in machines across Otahuhu, Mt Wellington, Glen Innes, Ellerslie, Panmure, Pakuranga, Sylvia Park and Mangere.

One of the men was seen getting out of a maroon four-door hatchback, and Mr Pascoe urged anyone who recognised the men to contact the police.

Peter Plowman, ANZ's senior fraud risk manager, said the bank had been working closely with police and agreed the behaviour did not fit the usual skimming profile.

Skimming and counterfeit bank cards have become more frequent since the first attack in New Zealand seven years ago. A skimming device, which looks as if it is part of the ATM, is placed over the slot where the bank card is inserted.

The card details are collected from the magnetic strip and a small camera above the keyboard records the Pin.

The stolen data can be transmitted wirelessly to the fraudsters, then emailed to associates overseas and on-sold to other criminal groups around the world.


Have you seen these men?

• Two men are using counterfeit cards with data obtained from Australia, Canada and the United States.

• The pair have tried to use the cloned cards more than 200 times at ANZ machines. Tried to withdraw $75,000, been successful in taking $12,000.

• Tried ATMs in Otahuhu, Mt Wellington, Glen Innes, Ellerslie, Panmure, Pakuranga, Sylvia Park and Mangere.

• Seen driving a maroon hatchback.

• Contact Detective Greg Brand, (09) 302 6605 or gregory.brand@police.govt.nz.

- NZ Herald

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