Italian police: Never lose sight of your credit cards
Stars and Stripes March 23, 2008
NAPLES, Italy — Here’s a safety tip from an Italian law enforcement official about using a credit card for in-person purchases: Never let it out of your sight.
Whether making a purchase at a store or using it to pay for a restaurant meal, keep an eye on who handles the plastic, even to the point of following your server if the card can’t be scanned at the table, said Angelo Mazzagatti, an officer and investigator with the carabinieri arm of the Defense Ministry office in Naples.
On Friday, investigators with the carabinieri, Italy’s military police, broke up a credit-card counterfeiting ring. They arrested two suspects in downtown Naples who were suspected of fabricating false credit cards and identification cards.
Although all of the 70 confiscated fake credit and ID cards bore names of Italian citizens, that doesn’t mean foreigners living, working or visiting Italy shouldn’t take heed, Mazzagatti said.
“Be very careful to whom you give your credit card,” he said.
Crooks have been known to use a devise called a “skimmer” in which they can make an imprint of the credit card and the pertinent information, such as name, account number and expiration date, he said.
When using a card in a restaurant, for example, never let the server walk off with it, he said. Either have the server swipe the card at your table or follow the server and watch the transaction take place, he advised.
Friday’s raid of the “laboratory” netted sophisticated equipment used to fabricate credit cards and false identification cards, according to a report by the Italian ANSA news service.