Investigators from the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Economic Crimes Bureau are working to confirm the identities of the credit card victims believed to be targeted by a crime ring that was busted Thursday in southwest Miami-Dade County.
Police said 100 gift cards encoded with stolen credit card numbers were found at one of the three properties that were targeted in the investigation. They said the credit card information was lifted from gas station skimmers.
Local 10 News investigative reporter Christina Vazquez was with detectives from the bureau’s Organized Fraud Intelligence Squad Thursday when the discovery was made.
“Basically, anything that contains a magnetic strip can be re-encoded with a victim’s credit card information. Every credit card is one victim. We have over 105 victims in this one case alone,” Economic Crimes Bureau Detective Marcos Rodriguez said.
In this case, detectives said the stolen credit card numbers were being used to purchase diesel fuel.
“Steal fuel and then sell it to truck drivers,” Sgt. Leo Fuentes said.
They also found four black cables that may be related to skimmers that are still out there.
“These cables are, basically, cables that come in the package in which skimmers are bought. They buy these skimmers online, they take them apart, (and) they rig them in order to be able to retrofit them in the fuel pumps,” Rodriguez said. “In (one) particular house, we found four. That means that this organization alone in this house had, at one point in time, four skimmers, which are currently or probably out there right now attached to fuel pumps.”
Detectives also found a grow house and an illegal cockfighting ring operation while executing search warrants.
Some of the people arrested after the massive police raid were facing serious charges in bond court Friday.
Investigators are currently trying to track down which gas stations those people whose credit card numbers were found on the gift cards may have visited in order to locate the possible outstanding skimmers. Each skimmer can carry up to 2,000 credit card numbers, which means up to 8,000 people may be at risk.
If you believe you’ve found a skimmer or a gas pump that’s been tampered with, you’re urged to contact the gas station manager, local law enforcement or the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 1-800-HELP-FLA.