British Columbia

Pair charged after ATM fraud scam in Vancouver

Police said the scam led to users' cards being trapped inside an ATM and their pins being recorded by a hidden camera.

Catrlin Virgil Diugu, 37, and Liviu-Marius Dogariu, 33, both arrested last week

Two people have been arrested and charged after an ATM scam in Vancouver. One has already pleaded guilty. (CBC)

Two men have been arrested and charged for allegedly tampering with ATMs in Vancouver to trap customers' bank cards and secretly record their PINs.

Vancouver police said suspects targeted machines at night. They're accused of setting up a small camera on the ATM to capture a customer entering a PIN, then installing a device to trap the bank card in the slot after a transaction.

"Everything would look OK as you put your card in, complete your transaction, but your card would not be returned to you," said Const. Jason Doucette.

Const. Jason Doucette points to the lens of a discreet camera used to record customers' PINs as part of the scam. The officer said the device would be stuck to the wall of the ATM with a magnet on the back and angled to film the pinpad. (CBC)

The officer said suspects "took the extra step" of scrubbing customer service contact information from the ATMs so customers would need to leave the machine to call for help.

Once cardholders left, offenders would grab the card and use the camera footage to obtain the PIN.

The investigation was launched after Scotiabank officials called police to report compromised machines in early May, but a statement said the scam wasn't limited to that particular bank.

Arrests made

Four people were arrested after police searched a home near Pacific Boulevard in Vancouver on Friday. Two were released and two were charged.

Catrlin Virgil Diugu, 37, has pleaded guilty to a fraud-related offence. Liviu-Marius Dogariu, 33, has been charged with possessing a device to obtain computer service.

Doucette said both men are Romanian tourists. The officer said it appears as though they're part of a group making their way from Ontario to B.C.

Anyone whose card gets stuck in an ATM is asked to call police or their bank's customer service line. Doucette warned customers against leaving the trapped card unattended.

The officer said investigators are still working to determine how much money may have been lost. 

Dogariu is set to appear in court on June 5.