Couple arrested in Minnesota, accused of using cloned credit cards

The affects of last year's Home Depot credit card breach are still being felt. 

According to a recent report by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a couple was arrested in Eagan, Minnesota, accused of buying thousands of dollars in gift cards with stolen credit cards.

 A 21-year-old Egan woman and a 35-year-old man from Chicago allegedly purchased fraudulent credit cards that were cloned from cards that were compromised in the massive Home Depot security breach last year. 

Reports from local law enforcement state that the two began using falsified cards earlier this year, using them mainly to purchase prepaid gift cards at major retailers such as Target and Walmart. Officials were initially notified by Target's internal fraud department of suspicious activity. Police immediately opened an investigation and witnessed the couple using the cards all around Minnesota and even as far as Chicago. 

The two were arrested on June 10 at the Target in Eagan. By that time, investigators report that they racked up fraudulent charges in excess of $35,000 that potentially affect as many as 180 people. A raid of their apartment turned up 66 cloned credit cards, which police believe were purchased through a larger theft ring. 

With the couple in custody, the investigation will now turn to that crime ring. 

"This is a big-time operation," James Backstrom, Dakota County Attorney, told KARE 11. "I believe this is connected to organize crime. There are people behind this that are marketing this information to willing buyers." He continued, saying that police are starting to catch up to credit card thieves.

Backstrom later told that credit card cloning is a major problem all over the country, not just in his state. Cloning is the process by which credit card information is copied onto a blank card that is made to resemble a normal credit card. This is an inherent flaw in magnetic strip cards, one that EMV cards hope to remedy. 

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