Man Caught Stealing Card Details from Tube Station Ticket Machine Jailed
Thursday, 29 August 2013
A man who attached a skimming device to a ticket machine in a bid to steal credit, debit and prepaid card details from passengers at Highbury and Islington tube station has been jailed.
Petru Cercel, 34, was given a 16-month sentence after he was spotted loitering around and returning to the ticket machine by a plain-clothed British Transport Police officer.
The man, who was seen revisiting the machine several times before officers approached to arrest him, which prompted Cercel to make a run for it, taking part of the machine with him before he was later tracked down and arrested in Birmingham last month.
Pc Mark Pink, the officer who spotted Cercel at the ticket machine in question, said: “The prison sentence handed down to Petru Cercel shows just how seriously card fraud is treated by BTP and the courts.”
“We’ve discovered and removed a number of these devices at various stations and I’d urge members of the public to be aware of these scams and take care when using cash points.”
“Skimming devices can be difficult to spot as they are designed to look like part of the machine. In this case, a green card reader was placed over the original reader to record passengers’ card details, while a pinhole camera was fitted above the keypad to capture the victim’s PIN number.”
“Cercel operated within an unknown group and although he didn’t fit the devices, he was the person who returned during the day to remove them.”
He added that people should be far more cautious when using ticket machines, as it’s not just ATMs where your card could be vulnerable to skimming, making sure to look for individuals loitering nearby and to only use those equipped with shields that prevent fraudsters from getting your PIN.