Crime

Blank credit cards and skimmer reportedly found on man crossing border at Peace Arch

How to spot a skimmer at a gas pump or ATM

Eric Vitale, fraud investigation specialist with the San Luis Obispo, Calif., Police Department, demonstrates how to spot a card skimmer on an ATM, gas pump or other card reader. He also offers advice for keeping your PIN and card information safe
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Eric Vitale, fraud investigation specialist with the San Luis Obispo, Calif., Police Department, demonstrates how to spot a card skimmer on an ATM, gas pump or other card reader. He also offers advice for keeping your PIN and card information safe

A 25-year-old man was arrested early Wednesday after he reportedly was stopped at the Peace Arch Border Crossing while attempting to cross from Canada into the United States with blank credit cards and a credit card skimming device.

Blaine Police booked Robel Araya Mekonnen into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of seven counts of unlawful factoring of transactions of credit cards.

According to information provided by Sgt. Michael Munden in an email Wednesday to The Bellingham Herald, Blaine Police were contacted at approximately 10:30 p.m. Tuesday by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol after they found Mekonnen attempting to cross from British Columbia carrying seven plain, unmarked white cards that all had valid routing numbers.

CBP officers also told Blaine Police that they found a credit card skimming device and several documents that “may be attached to identity theft,” Munden said.

Blaine Police are continuing to investigate the case, Munden said.

Due to the partial federal government shutdown, Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Jason Givens could not be reached for more details on the stop at the border.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.

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