Federal and local authorities raided two homes Thursday morning in an attempt to crack down on credit card fraud.
One raid was conducted at a home on Hampstead Drive in north Columbus.
Police brought out four suspects who are accused of credit card fraud.
According to officials, the suspects solicited cashiers at restaurants and businesses to be paid to skim credit card information.
“Basically they skim patrons’ credit cards and give them back to these guys who re-encode these numbers that they get onto credit cards or gift cards. They go out to local businesses and use these cards to get genuine gift cards, and kind of launder the money that way,” said Jonathan Schuck, U.S. Secret Service Agent.
The Secret Service calls it an upper management ring armed with credit card re-encoders and skimming devices.
The agency said it’s a persistent problem. Over the last year, it has confiscated multiple forms of the machines.
At the same time that four people were arrested on Hampstead Drive, a Columbus police SWAT team stormed a Kemper Road home and made two more arrests.
Officials are still trying to go through evidence to find out how much the ring may have taken.
“We still have to go through all the bank records, and we're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars, though,” added Schuck.
Agents said the crimes are common in the suburbs, not just the city. They suggest never letting your credit card out of your sight.
“Whether it's a drive-thru, make sure you're watching it, or go into the restaurant where they have the machines right there, and you can do it that way,” said Schuck.
The suspects face local and possibly federal fraud charges.
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