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Authorities Say Identity Thief Targeted Chase Bank Customers

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Aired 7/27/11

Chase Bank customers unknowingly gave their debit card information to an identity thief, authorities said.

A San Diego man placed a debit card-skimming device on the security door at the Chase on Black Mountain Road in Rancho Penasquitos, prosecutors allege. He also attached a small camera to two ATMs to capture customer pin numbers.

Over the course of five weekends, Daniel Axinte installed and uninstalled the devices at the branch, according to San Diego law-enforcement officials. He stole the credit card information from nearly 1,000 customers and used the information to withdraw more than $100,000.

Investigator Joe Cargel said he avoided detection because he worked quickly.

“He installed the card reader on the door within 30 seconds. And he was outside of the bank after installing the two on the ATM within a minute-and-a-half to two minutes. It was so fast.”

Scott Christensen of the U.S. Secret Service said the devices Axinte used were crude. He said you can protect yourself against identity theft by being observant and looking for any irregularities.

“These defendants are not using professionally manufactured equipment. They are made in someone’s garage and often they’ll use spray paint and plastic materials instead of aluminum or some other metal.”

Axinte was arrested and charged with multiple felonies. He pleaded not guilty today at his arraignment in San Diego Superior Court. Axinte is being held in jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

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