Romanian Mob Targeting Americans How?

Photo by René Ranisch on Unsplash

( – In California, authorities have identified a resurgence of an age-old scam, now with a modern twist, perpetrated by the Romanian mafia: debit card skimming at grocery store self-checkouts. This sophisticated network of criminals, once confined to gas stations and ATMs, has expanded its operations. According to reports by Fox News Digital, these criminals, often disguised as panhandlers outside large retailers like Walmart and Target, employ Bluetooth technology to remotely harvest data from skimming devices installed inside the stores. El Cajon Police Department’s surveillance footage reveals the alarming ease and speed with which these criminals can install skimmers on checkout systems, closely mimicking the original card readers.

Law enforcement advises consumers to physically check card readers for any signs of tampering before use, as a loose or detachable swipe device is likely counterfeit. The crackdown on this illicit activity has led to numerous arrests, primarily of individuals connected to Romanian organized crime networks. Despite significant law enforcement efforts, including major arrests in the U.S., Europe, and Mexico, the incidence of skimming crimes is on the rise, with estimates suggesting that these criminals could be netting up to $9 million monthly.

These skimming operations not only target debit card users but also exploit Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cardholders, draining accounts as soon as funds are disbursed. Orange County’s District Attorney’s office has launched significant initiatives to combat these crimes, which have siphoned over $100 million from welfare programs, impacting vulnerable populations like single mothers and low-income families.

The situation is exacerbated by broader systemic issues, such as porous border controls and lenient bail policies, allowing criminal elements to perpetuate their activities with relative impunity. A notable percentage of these criminals have entered the U.S. illegally or as asylum seekers, contributing to the Romanian mafia’s footprint across Southern California and beyond.

The ill-gotten wealth is often flaunted on social media platforms like TikTok, with young individuals displaying luxury items funded by these criminal activities. High-profile cases, such as that of Florin Duduianu, underscore the international dimension of this crisis, with law enforcement in both the U.S. and Romania collaborating to dismantle these networks. This global effort has led to significant arrests and the seizure of substantial assets, highlighting the ongoing battle against international financial crime and its profound impact on local communities.

Copyright 2024,