In its first year of operation, the Texas Financial Crime Intelligence Center in Tyler prevented more than $48 million in monetary losses due to fraud and recovered 396 credit card skimmers.
The center, coordinating law enforcement agencies to investigate organized financial fraud, officially opened in January 2022 in Tyler. The center is the first of its kind in the United States and was created by a bill from the 87th Legislature. It operates as a partnership between the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and the Smith County District Attorney’s Office.
The center’s total two-year budget is $2.65 million.
“The performance of the FCIC in its first year has been remarkable,” said Mike Arismendez, Jr., executive director of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Texas. As more law enforcement and financial institutions partner with the FCIC, Texas businesses and residents will be safer.”
In addition to gas station skimming, the center has recorded an “astronomical” number of scams involving other types of credit card skimming by foreign nationals, including ATM and point-of-sale skimming that specifically targets government benefit cards, according to the statement.
“The FCIC has put Texas at the forefront of investigating financial crime in the country,” said Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman. “This is the first investigation of its kind and has already proven to be effective for law enforcement and all Texans. Their continued work will prevent millions of dollars of fraud, create a safe environment for Texas banks and businesses, and keep those who exploit others from coming to Texas.”
In 2022, investigators noticed several significant changes in how criminals approached skimming gas station cards, according to the center.
Several Texas crime organizations have moved their skimming activities out of state to avoid state laws regarding skimming devices as well as coordinated law enforcement efforts. Some Texas crime organizations have also begun moving their operations to less populated areas of the state to find pumps that may be less secure.
Many criminal groups are now targeting high flow diesel pumps in order to obtain transport card numbers, which are preferable as they are usually less secure (no EMV chip), have significantly higher credit limits, and do not attract attention when buying a lot of fuel. , according to the center.