Police first received word about a new type of ‘skimming’ operation on Tuesday. Drivers who filled up at an unmanned Shell station in Malmö soon discovered huge sums suddenly being withdrawn from their bank accounts.
Several of the withdrawals appeared to originate from New York.
“I’ve had about 45 reports already and I know there are more on the way, Stefan Olsson from the Malmö police’s fraud unit told the TT news agency on Wednesday.
Police suspicions that more gas stations had been targeted were confirmed on Thursday after they were bombarded with dozens of additional reports.
All told, police in Malmö have received between 70 and 80 complaints which they believe are connected to the credit card skimming scam, the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) reports.
“This is the first time in Malmö that cards have been skimmed at petrol stations,” Olsson told SvD.
It remains unclear just how much money has been stolen from the accounts of unsuspecting motorists.
According to Olsson, amounts have ranged from 2,000 to 12,000 kronor.
So far police have no suspects and haven’t been able to determine how the skimming operation has been carried out.
“Normally you have to attach a piece of equipment that reads the magnetic strip. But now it’s in principle sufficient to take a picture of the card in order to use it,” Olsson told the newspaper.
He advised individuals to be vigilant when taking money out of cash machines or paying for items with a credit or debit card.
“Look closely to make sure the machine doesn’t look odd, that there isn’t something that deviates from the norm,” said Olsson, who added that there is little likelihood of the perpetrators being caught.