On Tuesday morning, Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) raided the Tres Ríos home of a man suspected of defrauding U.S. residents and cloning as many as 400 credit cards, according to a statement. OIJ did not announce the amount believed to be stolen in the scam.
The OIJ’s fraud division received complaints from U.S. cardholders who started to see unauthorized purchases on their credit cards from stores in Costa Rica starting in December 2015, even though they had never been to Costa Rica. After several months of investigation, authorities identified their suspect, a young man with the last name Castillo.
In the suspect’s home in Cartago, east of Costa Rica’s capital, police found roughly 400 fake credit cards, two skimmers (devices that pull data off a credit card’s magnetic strip), and two credit card duplicators and card stamping machines. Along with the credit card fraud equipment, police seized a television, laptop computer, cellphones, fake identification cards and passports and more than $5,000 in cash in colones and dollars.
OIJ spokesman Marco Monge told The Tico Times that authorities are still trying to uncover how the suspect got the credit card information. One theory police are investigating is that Castillo had an accomplice in the U.S. who supplied him with the card information.
In 2013, OIJ arrested four Canadians for allegedly withdrawing $48,000 in cash using cloned credit cards from that country.