Six Florida residents are accused of using card skimmers at Chicago-area gas stations to commit identity theft to the tune of more than $200,000.
The group is accused of attaching skimming devices to gas station pumps in Cook, DuPage and Lake counties, according to a statement from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. They used information stolen from customers’ cards to make fraudulent credit cards, which they used to spend $210,000 on gift cards and retail purchases.
The suspects have used similar skimming devices in Michigan and Georgia, the attorney general’s office said. An American Express fraud investigator noticed suspicious activity on multiple accounts in 2015 and traced all the cards back to a gas station in Glencoe.
Charges of identity theft, financial institution fraud, theft by deception, conspiracy to commit a financial crime, computer fraud and mail fraud have been filed in Cook County against 45-year-old Caridad Chacon; 23-year-old Jordan Chacon; 24-year-old William Hernandez; 26-year-old Jose Molina; 23-year-old Claudia Chung Prieto; and 25-year-old Katerine Ramirez, prosecutors said. All of the defendants live in Tampa, Florida, except for Ramirez, who lives in Miami.
“This scheme is nearly impossible to detect by a customer, so it is critically important that people regularly monitor their bank and credit card accounts and report any unauthorized charges,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in the statement.