Criminal tourist scams supermarket ATM machines

| 04/06/2015 | 6 Comments

(CNS): An Eastern European national visiting the Cayman Islands has been jailed for 16 months after he was caught attempting to steal cash, having skimmed hundreds of Cayman National Bank customers cards. Using a swipe machine and mini-cameras at CNB’s well-used ATMs at the Strand and Airport branches of Foster’s, Andon Smilyanov (32) was caught before he managed to steal any cash but not until he had cloned and compromised around 200 customers’ accounts.

The Bulgarian school teacher pleaded guilty to two counts of theft based on the data he stole from the accounts, including PINs, and was convicted and sentenced just weeks after another Eastern European gang were caught in a much bigger criminal enterprise using similar techniques. The group of Romanians, however, came to Cayman to use local ATM machines to withdraw cash on cloned cards that had been skimmed in other countries. That gang had stolen an estimated $250,000 before they were caught.

Smilyanov appeared to be here alone but the court heard he was not willing to say where he got his skimming device and cameras to perpetrate the crime, as his attorney said he was afraid for his family and would not “rat out” anyone, though he had shown remorse regarding his crime.

The school teacher, who also worked as a life-guard and ski instructor and had saved the lives of three people, had got into financial trouble when he started a business that was impacted by the economic slump.  When the banks came after his home, he took a chance on this criminal enterprise.

Smilyanov was caught because of the vigilance of bank workers, who spotted the scam on the CCTV, before he was able to use his skimmed cards. If he had not been stopped, he could have stolen significant sums of cash and it was the potential scale of the crime that led to the 16 month jail term.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    As this seems to be a problem here in Cayman , as a general rule,it is much safer to only use ATM machines on a banks property instead of those installed at super-markets, gas stations, etc. Bank machines are secured by both security guards and better camera surveillance & are attended to by bank staff more frequently, so they can spot any tampering

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why aren’t banks warning customers by emailing them pictures of typically looks like an externally retrofitted card reader on ATMs?

  3. Anonymous says:

    when they arrive from eastern Europe give them 2 days just enough time to get the next flight out, most are croks, and heavy drankards, look at what they are doing to Franc, Italy and UK

    • Anonymous says:

      Prejudiced bigoted generalizing w*****. Why is northward full of caymanians? I lived in eastern Europe for a long time and most are much better educated and harder working than most of us. Like every society some spoil it, but not as much as the local corrupt, megalomania and failure to prosecute the really wicked. Looking in the mirror hurts, blaming others is easy…

      • Annie says:

        Northward is full of Caymanians because the foreign criminals are deported back to their own country. Caymanians are at home.
        Sorry to burst your bubble.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stupid and badly educated. This poster is a heady cocktail of mediocrity.

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