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Nearly 8,000 card numbers stolen, 2 arrested in Colorado in 'skimming' case

Federal court documents reveal an elaborate card “skimming” scam in which Bluetooth devices were secretly placed inside Walmart stores in multiple states.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Three men are accused of using 15 or more credit card skimming devices in multiple Walmart stores in Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin to steal thousands of credit card, debit card and gift card numbers. 

Federal court records obtained by 9Wants to Know indicate Janos Rigo, Mercea Barzecu and a third unidentified suspect are accused of brazenly placing credit card skimmer “overlays” on several Walmart credit card machines beginning in December of 2021. 

The overlay skimmers, which can mimic credit card machines and point-of-sale devices, can secretly obtain card numbers, the account holder's name and expiration date. 

Credit: Department of Justice
An image from the federal court records shows the suspects placing an "overlay" skimming device at a Walmart self-checkout station

According to the federal documents, the devices collectively “had access to at least 7,873 personal credit card numbers, gift card numbers and debit card numbers” and were Bluetooth enabled. 

“Walmart’s internal review of these skimming devices determined that the devices had Bluetooth capabilities, enabling the devices to wirelessly transmit the stolen data,” a federal agent wrote in the court documents. 

The case is being investigated by the United States Secret Service. Investigators tracked Rigo and Barzecu by GPS to Colorado as they arrived on March 16 in the Littleton area, court documents say.

“Barzecu and RIGO went into two Colorado Walmart locations and attempted to use multiple counterfeit access devices. Law enforcement surveillance observed them travel to several other retail stores and ATM machines and use or attempt to use access devices,” a Secret Service agent wrote. 

After surveillance of two for the suspects in Colorado, records indicate Barzecu and Rigo were arrested in Lakewood. 

Credit: Department of Justice
Mircea Barzecu and Janos Rigo, the two suspects identified in court documents

It's unknown if agents arrested a third suspected identified as "Individual A" in the court records. 

If you have any information about this story or would like to send a tip, you can email jeremy@9news.com 

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