Has Calgary's Gang-Related Crime Gone High Tech?

Credit card skimming, in which identity thieves use physical devices to read (and steal) Canadian consumer's credit card numbers, was recently on the rise in Calgary, and according to Calgary Police it could be linked to organized crime.

Two suspects have been arrested in a case in which they allegedly built credit card skimming devices, attached them to at least 38 gas station pumps throughout Calgary, and used the numbers to create fake credit cards.

These fake credit cards were then allegedly used to purchase high-price consumer goods such as computers, cameras, clothing, and designer handbags. Items purchased with the credit cards were going to be sold online in a scheme that effectively "launders" the money, according to Calgary Police.

Interestingly, police also found BitCoin tokens in their search of the suspects' property, which potentially indicates a cybercrime angle to this case. It also, according to Calgary Police Service Staff Sgt. Kristie Verheul, is a strong indicator that this could be part of a larger organized crime enterprise.

Under Canada's gang laws, any group of three or more individuals, inside or outside Canada, who are engaged in any criminal activity are considered a criminal organization or gang. The BitCoin tokens found in this case could potentially be used as an untraceable way of making purchases or transferring money internationally.

The investigation into the credit card skimming continues, and everyone in the Calgary area is urged to check their credit card statements for erroneous charges and to carefully check the card readers at gas station pumps for any signs of tampering.