International Credit Card Theft Group Busted in Macedonia

The Macedonian police arrested five Macedonian and two Serbian members of an international credit card theft group, the police said Saturday. A Bulgarian national is also believed to be a member of the group which stole over MKD 4 million (US$92,000) from Macedonian citizens between November 2011 and April 2012.

In January the authorities suspected that an organized crime group was electronically stealing credit card information in Macedonia. Further investigation revealed that the suspects came from Macedonia, Serbia and Bulgaria, and the police forces of the three countries began a joint investigation.

According to the authorities the group placed devices in ATMs in seven Macedonian cities, and stole information from 1,111 credit cards. Two Macedonian nationals took the collected data to Bulgaria, where a Bulgarian citizen is suspected of using it to create fake credit cards.

Based on data from banks, the Macedonian victims reported illegal transactions on their cards in far off countries such as Thailand and Uganda.

The arrests began on April 17, when the police caught three suspects trying to install an information skimming device into an ATM machine in Prilep, southern Macedonia. The police found two more such devices in the suspects’ vehicle.

Six suspects were placed under arrest for one month and one suspect was placed under house arrest as the investigation continues. Three of the suspects have a previous record of credit card forgery.