Young teens are being recruited by international criminals to get cash from ATMs using fraudulent cards, according to Nashville law enforcement officials.
Three teens were charged in Mt. Juliet for allegedly using encoded cards at two ATMs. Some of the cards were sewn into the females’ clothing.
According to local law enforcement, the teens were likely recruited.
“The criminals are looking for people in desperate circumstances,” said Matthew Preston, Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge for the Secret Service. “They’ll say ‘Hey, here’s an easy way for you to make a little cash.’ They’re taking advantage of them.”
Preston said the recruiting happens both stateside and overseas.
He said right now, there are at least five international fraud rings operating in Middle Tennessee.
They originate from five different countries: Venezuela, Cuba, Armenia, Romania, and Brazil.
“The allure of the U.S. is very strong,” Preston told News 2. “You’re taking people in desperate circumstances who need money and you’re offering them a chance to come to the U.S. and make money. They probably leave out the part ‘Oh, by the way you might get arrested.'”
Several law enforcement agencies have established a work group to combat the international fraud rings targeted Tennessee.
“One of the tactics that you see these groups use is that they deliberately jump jurisdictions to make it harder to track them. This is our response to that: all the jurisdictions are working together,” said Preston.
The work group is comprised of local, state and federal law enforcement including the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the United States Postal Service.
Preston said the goal is arrest the head of these operations but it’s extremely difficult to find them. He says they often catch the lower-level criminals, who are sent out to actually withdraw the money.