Seattle Credit Card Skimming Investigation Reveals Two Common Fraud Techniques
A credit card fraud case in Seattle highlights two of the most common ways that identity thieves gain access to personal data. Prosecutors say that a husband-and-wife team enticed a court worker and a fast food cashier to supply credit card numbers that were later used to purchase retail gift cards.

The fast food worker named in a federal indictment is believed to have used a "skimmer" device while taking orders during her shifts. Surveillance tape shows the suspect swiping customers' credit cards twice: first through a palm-sized device hidden out of customer view, and then through the restaurant's point-of-sale system.

Prosecutors also targeted a customer service worker in the Seattle Municipal Court, accused of using system credentials to download credit card information from city files. Cards used to pay for traffic fines and construction fees turned up during the investigation, leading investigators to the link between reported stolen numbers.

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Joe Taylor Jr. is an internal business consultant for a Fortune 500 company, who writes about finance, culture, and design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.