Lisbon police have detained two Romanians suspected of being part of a gang that have been robbing ATM machines. The thieves used fake cards and recorded the PINS of users with hidden cameras.
The gang duplicated the magnetic bands of users’ debit cards by inserting an electronic card-reading gadget in the slots of ATM machines. They also filmed people withdrawing money using tiny cameras placed near cash points, so enabling them to read the PINS. The suspects, aged between 23 and 26, had only been in Portugal for a few days. They were sharing a house in Amadora with two other men and a woman, also Romanians. All members of the group were illegal immigrants.
The Bureau of Criminal Investigation launched the operation after complaints from various bank customers. Investigators established that the criminals had interfered with ATM machines in Benfica and Telheiras as well as Cascais and Amadora. Victims unwittingly permitted the reproduction of magnetic bands of their cards without becoming suspicious. Once the thieves had ascertained users’ PINS, they used simple plastic cards to introduce the real users’ details and effect cash withdrawals.
Police apprehended the group in Estoril where they were attempting to repeat the procedure at an ATM machine.