Duo Accused of Credit Card Skimming Amid a Wider Clampdown on


In a crackdown on pervasive credit card skimming fraud, Baytown police have arrested a duo with high-tech thieving tools and a trail of alleged financial crimes, Perla Miclescu, 25, and Rafael Rafaila, 20, accused of operating a sophisticated credit card skimming operation, were detained with a heap of incriminating gear consisting of a ‘deep insert skimmer’, ‘overlay pinhole cameras’, and 24 re-encoded credit cards, according to FOX 26 Houston.

With records showing that both suspects are ensnared in ongoing deportation proceedings and sporting warrants for similar offenses across other counties and states, the pair’s rap sheet includes Miclescu’s indictment in a 2019 robbery case in Colorado County, Texas, and Rafaila’s possession charges for unlawful card skimming devices in Indiana; Miclescu had posted bond never returned to court, further complicating her legal standing. Captain Jeff Roberts of the Texas Financial Crimes Intelligence Center couldn’t delve into specifics about the Baytown case but delineated the dangers of ‘deep insert skimmers’, devices stealthily embedded within card readers capturing unwary victims’ PINs during transactions, and advised patrons to pivot towards safer tap-to-pay options, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, as these methods render skimming attempts futile.

Simultaneously, Houston law enforcement unearthed an illicit ‘skimmer manufacturing lab’ in a Sunnyside Airbnb, believed to be a staging ground for a quartet of suspects linked to Romanian organized crime who evaded the Canadian border into Vermont and swiftly set their skimming scheme in motion; a tip-off from a surveillance clip of a 2018 Nissan Murano purchased with cash and a counterfeit Italian passport led to the arrests of two of the suspects discovered with a trove of compromised cards and a substantial sum of cash, as detailed by Click2Houston.

As investigators tracked the suspects, moments after recovering hundreds of fraudulent cards during a Pearland traffic stop, attention turned to the Airbnb where two additional suspects arrived, both failing to mask their identities with fake Italian passports, their illicit workshop busted with more skimmers, cash, and cloned gift cards, with Harris County District Attorney’s Office seeking steep $20 million bonds for each suspect due to the enormity of the scam and the potential impact on Harris county residents, the Baytown Police Department spearheading the ongoing investigation remained typically tight-lipped, withholding further particulars.

In a sweeping response to the burgeoning threat of credit card theft, the Texas Financial Crimes Intelligence Center disclosed having recovered 445 skimmers and prevented an astonishing $171,516,831 in potential fraud-related monetary losses in Texas, indicating the issue’s scale and the necessity of vigilance among consumers. The accused are currently sitting behind bars in Harris County jail with their bonds set at $200,000, reaffirming the joint commitment of multiple law enforcement agencies to intercepting and dismantling the operations of such financially predatory networks.



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