Police swoop on alleged taxi credit card fraud syndicate in Sydney

A fraud racket with the potential to steal the credit card details of hundreds of Sydney taxi users has been dismantled following police raids.

Several members of the group were arrested last week in a card-cloning den set up in a motel room in Chullora.

Some 800 blank credit cards, as well as laptops, a skimming device and a card encoder were found at the scene.

Police will allege the men were part of a sophisticated fraud syndicate with the potential to net hundreds of thousands of dollars through skimming key details off the magnetic strip on credit cards as they were used in taxis and other locations.

While owners of the affected terminals may not be aware of the illegal activity, police said the technology used by this group was “readily identifiable”: a black device fitted across a standard eftpos terminal. The syndicate would create replica cards from the stolen information and make cash withdrawals and purchases.

Strike Force Hereford 2 became aware of their activities several months ago. The investigation is continuing, but police have confirmed dozens, if not hundreds, of Sydney residents have been affected.

Acting commander of the Fraud and Cybercrime Squad, Detective Acting Superintendent John Watson, told Fairfax Media several members had ties to the taxi industry.

“They were certainly connected in one way, shape or form to the industry. One man was a taxi driver but the person directing the activities wasn’t connected in anyway,” Detective Acting Superintendent Watson said.

Police also raided a unit on Sussex Street in the Sydney CBD, where they say the 28-year-old head of the syndicate was living. Police seized two laptops, mobile telephones, and financial and identification documents.

Five men were arrested in total during the operations: a 28-year-old man from Sydney, a 28-year-old from Potts Point, a 24-year-old from Rockdale, a 29-year old from Moorebank and a 56-year-old from Greenacre. The Greenacre man has been released but will continue to be investigated by police.

The remaining four have been charged with dealing in identification information and possessing equipment for the manufacture of identity documents. The 28-year-old Sydney man has been charged with directing the activities of a criminal group and the other three with participating in one.

“We’ve dismantled this syndicate but we don’t suspect for a second this is the only one. The investigation is still unfolding and we’re asking anyone with information to get in touch,” Detective Acting Superintendent Watson said.

The men will face court later this month.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation