CITRUS HEIGHTS — Two men are now facing federal conspiracy charges for using a deep insertion skimmer connected to ATMs to record and steal card numbers and account information from more than 800 Golden 1 Credit Union customers.
The device was also accompanied by a hidden camera to capture each customer’s personal identification number.
Luis Gaina and Ricardo Gabriele-Plage, both from Venezuela, were eventually caught and arrested. Clear pictures of the men were captured by security cameras at the ATMs.
“It takes a lot of skill to actually develop one of those devices,” said Sgt. Shaun Hampton with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. “A certain level of skill that you don’t normally see in the common criminal. People who are manufacturing these have a significant amount of knowledge in what is needed and there is a slight bit of engineering that goes into making these devices.”
Once all the information was obtained, the men allegedly then used the numbers to withdraw money from the victims. About $21,000 were stolen from one branch alone. All of that was paid back to Golden 1 customers.
In all, 860 customers had their account information compromised because of the skimming devices.
A statement sent Friday night from Golden 1 Executive Vice President Tom Genessy read in part:
“Golden 1 Credit Union places the highest priority on member security and trust. Upon identifying these incidents, we immediately notified affected members and replaced their cards. Because we reimbursed each of them, no Golden 1 member who was affected by this incident incurred a financial loss.”
However, upon hearing the news of the breach, customers were not so confident in the system.
A device, or skimmer, will either be attached to where a card is inserted or is already deep inside the machine. Authorities say if anything looks suspicious, try a different ATM.