Federal investigation probes bank cards

Federal investigation probes bank cards
Agent Clint Bush
Agent Clint Bush

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The United States Secret Service continues their investigation into bank card hacking in Albany. Secret Service agents say the rash of bank card information thefts seen last month in Albany is a crime pattern being seen across the nation. 

The Secret Service say if bank card information thieves steal your credit card number, they will sell it for about $10 each, possibly hundreds of times.  The crooks buying the numbers make their own credit card, with your number on it. And the equipment they use, anyone can buy.

Secret Service Resident Agent Clint Bush shows how credit card identity thieves use an embosser, and a re-encoder to make their own cards.

"You can purchase stock white plastic cards with the magnetic strip.  And then they will slide this through this re-encorder, which will re-encode that magnetic strip with a 16 digit number."

"It's an epidemic.  It's something we are seeing not just in our local area, but worldwide," Bush said.

And it could be your credit card number. The end products look real, and unless you know your bank card information has been compromised, some crook will go on a shopping spree. 

Where do you buy this sinister equipment?  E-bay of course. The Secret Service investigation continues into a 21 day hack of several businesses in Albany, where an e-mail planted a virus that stole card information of hundreds of people. 

"They'll target a specific area," Bush said. "If it's Albany or Valdosta. And a lot of times you may have smaller companies there. And they'll hack that information and then they'll sell it on the Dark Web."

The Secret Service says number buyers want stolen bank card information from the same state, hoping to not be spotted by bank fraud services.

Agents know it's frustrating to be a victim, and want to assure South Georgians they are investigating. Bush said "It is actually being worked on.  There have been some arrests on the end users. Some of the people using the credit cards."

But the Secret Service's electronic crimes task wants the hackers themselves. Agents say they could be overseas, but the hunt is on.

Those end users that have been arrested using the stolen card numbers, were mostly in the Atlanta metro area.  Investigators are not giving out their names, but using their information to track who sold them the stolen information.

With the rise of scamming being witnessed, the best strategy is to beat the problem before it happens.

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