Shanghai cops detained three Romanian nationals suspected of using fake bank cards to withdraw around 200,000 yuan from ATMs across the city.
Despite working under the cover of darkness, the three fake cardholders were caught on surveillance cameras and arrested on February 3, according to Shanghai Daily.
Police got into the act after five banks reported in January that “a large number” of blank bank cards — those with just a black magnetic strip with no other details of the card holder — were swallowed by ATM machines in Xuhui and Huangpu districts.
Police tracked them down from surveillance cameras and seized more than 100 blank cards, information of over 200 illegal cards and card readers from them. Some of the illegal cash was also recovered.
Police said it was not rare for swindlers to cash in with illegal bank cards during the Chinese New Year because transactions at the ATM machines are the highest at that time of the year. They also tend to target machines in downtown areas which have more cash.
According to police, scams involving the use of illegal foreign cards at ATMs in China are relatively common because criminals think that cardholders outside of the country are covered by insurance and won’t bother reporting the cases.
Last year, a man in China faced a jail term of 10 years for forging credit cards and linking them to foreigners’ bank accounts.