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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

US man among four arrested for cloning credit cards in Costa Rica

Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) arrested four suspects Tuesday morning, including one man from the U.S. and an employee of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute, in connection with a credit card fraud that stole roughly $140,000.

The U.S. suspect was identified as a 24-year-old man who is also a Costa Rican resident. He was arrested along with two other Costa Rican men, ages 50 and 25, respectively, and a 21-year-old Costa Rican woman in a series of raids in Alajuela, Escazú and San José on Tuesday morning.

The group stole credit and debit card information from two businesses in Panama and four in Costa Rica, mostly automobile service centers. They copied the card information onto blank cards for their use, a process known as “cloning.”

The ICE employee allegedly used his position at the state-owned electricity company to capture credit card information transmitted on ICE lines, according to a statement from the Prosecutor’s Office.

Police said the group was connected to at least six cases of fraud involving corporations and individuals in Costa Rica, Panama, the U.S. and Europe. The amount stolen was estimated to be ₡75 million, roughly $140,000, according to a news release from OIJ.

The fraudsters used the cloned credit and debit cards in the United States, Colombia and Costa Rica.

The four suspects will remain under arrest until the Criminal Court of San José dictates any precautionary measures Wednesday.

In February, OIJ agents arrested a Costa Rican man in Tres Ríos with 400 cloned U.S. credit cards and equipment to duplicate the cards.

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