Suspects accused in Upstate ATM skimming scam - FOX Carolina 21

Suspects accused in Upstate ATM skimming scam

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Investigators say suspects used device similar to this. (June 5, 2014/FOX Carolina) Investigators say suspects used device similar to this. (June 5, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Marian Serdaru (L) and Ionut Velcu. (Source: Spartanburg Co. Detention Center) Marian Serdaru (L) and Ionut Velcu. (Source: Spartanburg Co. Detention Center)
Spartanburg County, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Scott Cody pulled up at a SunTrust ATM on Thursday and after he got his money, he was shocked to learn that many ATMs were recently tampered with.

"I just don't, I don't get it," Cody said. "It's amazing what they can do and it wouldn't surprise me anyway."

U.S. Secret Service agents say scam artists hooked up devices called skimmers at ATMs to swipe debit card and PINs.

"It scares me. I'm hoping it ain't mine - just don't know," Cody said.

Duncan police officers pulled over Marian Serdaru, 21, and Ionut Velcu, 18, in Spartanburg County on June 1. According to an affidavit, Velcu threw out a skimming device from a car.

"I can't believe people got that much time to put in, to come up with your money," Cody said.

Deveren Werne is an Information Technology investigator with Liquid Video.

"The skimmer actually picks up the strip information," Werne said. "As you're scanning your card in, it's reading your card."

Secret Service agents are now working the case and say Duncan police found a green skimmer with a camera attached to it, a computer chip with a SIM card and a GPS in Serdaru and Velcu's car.

"The camera will read your digits, the PIN number you type in," Werne said. "They will replicate what that looks like and paste it over the top of it. So, it looks just like the piece of hardware you'll see at a normal ATM."

Investigators say Serdaru and Velcu placed skimming devices on several SunTrust ATMs in Greenville and Spartanburg counties on May 31. Reports state the suspects traveled to Greenville from Miami where they met a man who paid them to mount the devices at ATMs.

Mike McCoy, a spokesperson with SunTrust bank released this statement:

"It's important to note that this is not something unique to our bank. It is an industry-wide issue. While we have processes and policies in place to help prevent fraud, we also tell clients that if any ATM looks tampered with in any way, do not use that ATM.

This also highlights the importance of regularly monitoring accounts, and reporting any suspicious activity to your financial institution."

Investigators say they're trying to figure out which SunTrust ATMs were hit and if the suspects were able to get any banking information. Information Technology experts say if you have to use an ATM, cover the keypad when you're typing your PIN.

Experts say that could prevent scam artists from getting your PIN even if they were able to scan your debit card number.

As of Thursday, both Serdaru and Velcu are locked up at the Spartanburg County jail. They are charged with possession of equipment capable of being used in a crime. Serdaru was also charged with driving without a license.

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