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Two men charged with trying to skim account data at Peoria ATM

Skimming financial account data and PINs is one of the fastest-growing scams in the US. In this case, two Bulgarian men were arrested after an individual detected an illegal skimming device.

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A federal grand jury in Peoria, Ill., has returned a two-count indictment charging two Bulgarian men with attempting to use an electronic scanning device to illegally obtain account numbers and PIN data from an ATM machine.

The two men, Svetoslav Nachev and Petar Petrovski, were arrested July 31 after an individual detected an illegal skimming device attached to the ATM at a Commerce Bank in Peoria.

Skimming financial account data and PINs is one of the fastest-growing scams in the United States. It often involves sliding a decoy card reader into and over the legitimate card reader so that it appears to be part of the ATM. When a customer slides his or her card into the decoy reader, it records the account number and any PIN or access code as it is being entered by the account holder.

Armed with that information, criminals are able to access and drain the account.

Similar scams have targeted credit-card and debit-card readers, including those used at gas pumps.

According to an affidavit filed in federal court, Messrs. Nachev and Petrovski had arrived in the US from Bulgaria two months earlier and had settled in the Chicago area. They told authorities that they traveled to Peoria to see the sights and shop at Wal-Mart because, they said, it is cheaper than shopping in Chicago.

The investigation began when an individual called police after noticing the illegal skimming device at the Commerce Bank ATM. As the responding officer approached the bank, he noticed two men sitting and eating sandwiches in a Toyota Corolla parked within sight of the ATM.

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