Suspects Arrested in Brooklyn EBT Skimming Spree

By Matis Glenn

Suspects being arrested for allegedly using a skimmer at Moisha’s supermarket. (Shmira)

Two suspects were arrested Tuesday afternoon for allegedly defrauding EBT customers at a Flatbush supermarket, and are believed to have committed similar offenses in supermarkets across Brooklyn.

As part of a joint effort between Boro Park and Flatbush divisions of Shmira, who had been tracking the suspects for weeks, the duo were caught on camera removing a skimming device at around 2:45 p.m. from a register at Moisha’s Supermarket on Avenue M in Flatbush.

Shmira members had been stationed at the supermarket in anticipation of the crime, and pursued the suspects, who had fled the store. Both were caught in the vicinity of Avenue M and East 4th Street, and were held until NYPD arrived soon after.

After being arrested, one of the suspects feigned illness, and police called EMS. Once cleared by EMT’s, the skimming device was not found on the suspect; a Shmira member recommended that police search the ambulance, and sure enough, the device was discovered under the stretcher that the suspect had been placed in for medical evaluation.

The thieves are believed to have defrauded numerous EBT customers who rely on the program to feed their families.

“These thieves were highly skilled and equipped with the latest in scamming technology,” a spokesperson for Shmira told Hamodia. “They always wore masks to hide their faces, gloves to avoid fingerprints, and used skimming machines that look like part of the payment terminal.”

The skimming machines used were designed to appear the same as rubber privacy guards commonly used around the keypad of payment terminals.

Skimmers then read the data of swiped cards, and either store it until a scammer retrieves it, or in some cases, emits a signal sending the information remotely. Using a “tap” payment system, when available, is an effective tool against this sort of scam, but EBT cards do not currently feature this system.

The NYPD urges people who use EBT to gently tug at the terminals to see if there are any devices attached before swiping.

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