Explanation of what the crime is Any statistical information to show how prevalent or impactful the crime is on society.

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Explanation of what the crime is Any statistical information to show how prevalent or impactful the crime is on society.

Final Project

You are to complete a Law Enforcement Investigative Guideline for (1) of the (4) following topics:

  • Law Enforcement Guideline for Investigating Point of Sale Skimming Incidents
  • Law Enforcement Guideline for Investigating Cracking Card Investigations
  • Law Enforcement Guideline for Investigating Access Device Fraud (How counterfeit credit/debit cards are made and how to detect them)
  • Law Enforcement Guideline for Investigating Gas Pump Skimming Incidents

An Investigative Guideline should be in PowerPoint or PDF format.  The investigative guideline should contain the following information:

  1. Explanation of what the crime is
  2. Any statistical information to show how prevalent or impactful the crime is on society.
  3. O (Modus Operandi) of the crime (How crime is typically committed and commonalities of the groups doing this)
  4. Key indicators that law enforcement might observe to indicate crime is being committed
  5. Techniques that law enforcement may use to help investigate the crime.



“He who steals a little steals with the same wish as he who steals much, but with less power.”  -Plato

Stealing physical cards and/or card data has some benefits as well as some setbacks when it comes to implementation and reward.   As we explained in our opening dialogue of this class, criminals involved in fraud, financial, and cybercrimes are usually pretty savvy, educated, and determined.   So in terms of stealing credit card data, physical theft would be on the low end of the totem pole of options.  With the advancement of technology, criminals have created much better methods for hijacking card data.

In this module we will focus on the electronic theft of credit and debit card data.   From traditional skimming to POS, ATM, And Gas Pump Skimming and from electronic pick-pocketing to Point of Sale Network Intrusions, we will see how truly sophisticated criminals use technology to steal both the track data, card information and PIN numbers of unsuspecting victims.

Technology breads innovation for both the lawful and unlawful in our society.  The development of state of the art skimmers, micro-video cameras, and the accompaniment of Bluetooth technology and 3-D printing, card hackers can steal hundreds of card numbers in a matter of hours.  It can be done at any given moment and in every neighborhood in America.

It is estimated that world losses to credit/debit card fraud alone is estimated at $24 billion dollars a year, and over 38% of those losses occurred within the United States(www.nilsonreport.com).

We will see how track data can be stolen, manipulated, re-encoded and used by criminals to make fraudulent purchases or ATM withdrawals.

By 2010, financial institutions were so devastated by losses associated with fraudulent card usage, that Visa (2011) as well as MasterCard (2012), Discover (2012) and American Expressed

Identity Theft:

Social security, bank account, and credit card numbers aren’t just data. In the wrong hands, they can wipe out someone’s life savings, wreck their credit and cause financial ruin. – Melissa Bean

A standard issued square of polyvinyl chloride acetate measuring 85.5 millimeters by 54 millimeters is one of the most vital tools currently possessed by almost every adult in the world.  It is typically stored in a purse or wallet and it helps each of us eat, clothe ourselves, go on vacation and pay for the daily necessities.  That is probably why somebody coined the phrase, “access device”.  It gives us access to money, services, products and even credit when we don’t have liquid assets, but a financial institution says we are good for.   It allows us to purchase products and services half way across the country and/or the world without having to be physically present.  It helps us reserve things in the future.  It is sound as money, but it is much easier and convenient to carry.

Yet in the wrong hands, your lifesavings, credit and identity and be taken and ruined in a millisecond.  It is the very information contained on the front and more importantly, the back of those cards, that thieves, skimmers, hackers and counterfeiters have been targeting for the past 50 + years.   It is one of the most sought after and stolen pieces of personal identifying information (PII) in the world.

From early techniques like the Lebanese loop combined with shoulder-surfing, criminals were able to get your card number and PIN number one set at a time.  Think your safe leaving your credit and debit cards in a locked vehicle or gym locker? Think again.  How about when you’re watching a movie in a theatre?  Where there is a moment, there is a moment of opportunity for criminals to snatch your card or its information.

In this first module, we will explore how the magnetic stripe card came to be and the standard features that exist in most mag-stripe cards.  We will also explore all the different methods that a card can be used in order to complete a transaction. Finally, we will discover the different methods criminals use to physically steal actual cards and card data from victims.

And what about the easiest method of obtaining card data?  Just ask the victim for the information.  That’s right–hundreds if not thousands of victims give their card data away to criminals on a daily basis