Riverside police arrest two on suspicion of 'skimming' ATM cards to steal cash

Riverside police arrested two men on Wednesday after they were suspected of adding an ATM card skimming device to a Bank of America ATM" (Source: Riverside Police Department)
Riverside police arrested two men on suspicion of installing a card-skimming device to a Bank of America ATM. (Riverside Police Department)

Riverside police arrested two men this week on suspicion of installing a "skimming" device at an ATM in an attempt to collect bank card information that could then be used to raid victim's accounts, authorities said.

Officers from the Riverside Police Department on Wednesday afternoon observed the men driving while pointing what appeared to be "a makeshift antennae" toward a Bank of America ATM at 10297 Magnolia Ave.

Officers contacted the men and searched their vehicle — finding skimmer devices, which capture card data and PINs, tools to install the devices at ATMs and access cards to clone fraudulent copies of bank cards, authorities said.

The men may also be connected to two other card-skimming fraud investigations, including one where more than $10,000 total was withdrawn from two victims' bank accounts, according to Riverside police spokesman Officer Ryan Railsback.

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The suspects, identified as Nicolae Masu, 29; and George Mirica, 26, both of Santa Ana, were arrested on suspicion of identity theft, transferring stolen identity information and conspiracy. They were booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center and released on $10,000 bail each.

“Suspects regularly target ATM cards that do not contain security chips," Riverside Det. Brian Money, who investigates property crimes, said in a statement.

Those can include cards issued by the state for unemployment insurance or food assistance programs, he added.

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Riverside police advise residents to check ATMs for loose parts or unusual attachments before using them. They also advise covering the number pad on both sides when using it and regularly changing a card's PIN to deter fraud.

The investigation into Masu and Mirica is ongoing, according to Railsback. Anyone with information can contact Det. Michael Gomez at (951) 353-7115 or Det. Javier Cabrera at (951) 353-7116. Information can also be provided anonymously by emailing RPDTips@riversideca.gov.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.