Beaverton, Oregon has been a target for out-of-state thieves who come to steal credit card numbers so they can sell the goods and gift cards they fraudulently obtain.
Before local detectives got on the trail, the area was easy picking for these crews, which hail from Oakland, LA, and as far away as Florida.
What these theives all have in common is a knack for stealing credit card numbers and making fake credit cards. These criminals can legally purchase the technology to make the cards, and stolen credit card numbers are readily available from websites in Russia and the Ukraine. Another option is to install skimmers on ATMs or gas station pumps.
The Beaverton Valley Times interviewed one detective in depth who is hot on their trail. Jason Buelt is an expert at catching credit card thieves, and says that criminals are making a stronger push lately. Credit card companies have started issuing cards with embedded chips to help fight fraud. Buelt feels that the advent of this technology is emboldening the criminals to act while they still can.
He and his fellow detectives have investigated about 40 fraud crews from out of state since 2013. These fraudsters use fake credit cards to buy gift cards. These cards can be sold for 70-90¢ on the dollar or used to buy merchandise that is then returned for cash. This type of fraud takes a heavy toll on credit card companies and stores that pass the costs onto consumers in the long run.
According to Buelt, these types of investigations are time-consuming, and the sentences for this type of crime vary a great deal. They range from probation to almost four years in prison.
Buelt expects the amount of credit card fraud to decrease as cards with chips become more prevalent, but he predicts that these thieves will switch over to other types of crime instead.