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Rip-Off Alert: ID thief scopes targets from hotel

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 4/26/2013 5:23 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- ID theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America. Between 8 million to 12 million people could be victims in a single year. In this Rip-Off Alert, thieves are using extraordinary measures to steal your money.

Postal inspectors received a tip to search a hotel room after a suspect was arrested with several stolen cards.

"We opened the door there was a spotting scope with a video camera pointed out the window," said U.S. Postal Inspector Dan Taylor.

The camera was pointing at a gas station where the suspect in custody had placed a skimming device on a pump.

"He recorded 40 hours' worth of transactions and he was also logging PIN Numbers as he was watching his victims," Taylor said.

The suspect had all the magnetic strip information on each credit card along with the numbers, the perfect storm for ID theft.

"Many times what these ID thieves are after is quick cash,” Taylor said. “With counterfeit credit cards, we see a lot of cash advances basically bleed the card for every bit it is worth."

Gas pumps are often a target. Here are some tips to protect yourself next time you're buying fuel.

"If you see something on there that doesn't look right -- first of all -- don't use it," Taylor said. "Many times the scammers are keeping close surveillance on their skimming device. If law enforcement can be notified maybe we can catch them in the act."

Postal inspectors say it is so important to protect your credit and banking information.

"This guy took extraordinary measures to get the information, it just shows the determination some criminals have and they will do anything to steal your money," Taylor said.

In this case, the suspect was convicted on ID theft charges and is serving prison time.
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