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Monthly Archives: September 2010

  • Chicago's Highway Surveillance System

    The Chicago Police Department, and retiring Mayor Daley, want to take Chicago's surveillance system to the highway. The ambitious plan, announced earlier this year, is to install some 200 cameras along interstate highways between Chicago and Mexico. The camera's function is to take pictures of license plates and cross-reference them to known images of smuggler, drug traffickers, and gun runners. Read More

  • Hidden Camera Exposes Illegal Dentists

    Going to the dentist isn't something that we usually scrutinize to ensure our chosen practitioner has the necessary schooling and degrees that prove he's a dentist. Usually, we opt for doctors or dentists who are recommended by our social circle, or, more likely, the ones covered by an insurance plan. Usually, the expectation is that they're qualified; after all, masquerading as a dentist wouldn't be the easiest scam to perpetrate.

    In San Antonio, WOAI-TV News 4 recently published a news story by Jaie Avila using a hidden camera that might be surprising... Read More

  • Bank ATM "Skimmer" Busted

    Romanian citizen Razvan Apostal, staying in Queens on a Visa was arrested near  Rye Brook, NY, last month for using an ATM "skimmer" to steal personal ATM card information. He also installed video surveillance cameras above ATM machines in order to steal Personal Identification Numbers (PINs).

    An ATM skimming device, or skimmer, is a device that covers the ATM card slot that reads the information on the magnetic card strip, plus, depending on the device, may record the PIN as well. For less-sophisticated skimmers, a camera can be installed to capture the PIN.

    Depending on the ATM, and the crook's knowledge of their workings, skimmers can be absurdly obvious or nearly impossible to detect.

    The 31-year-old's crimes were brought to light after a banking customer notified Chase Bank that an additional security camera had been installed above the ATM machines, allegedly aimed at the user interface portion of the machine. Chase Bank authorities notified local police. After viewing surveillance footage on the camera, Mr. Apostal was identified as the suspect.

    A week later, another local ATM was found with a camera installed in the same general location.

    Police searched for--then arrested--Apostal for placing a skimming device, the cameras, and a mirror at several local area ATMs. When arrested, he had the skimming device in his possession. Police discovered counterfeit $100 bills when a search of the man's property was initiated.

    Apostal is in jail awaiting trial. He's being charged for eight counts criminal possession of forged instruments and one count of unlawful possession of a skimming device.

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