Card-Skimming Scheme Busted at Gas Station in Nova Scotia

DARTMOUTH, N.S. -- Halifax-area police say undercover officers working on a tip have uncovered a bank-card skimming scheme at a gas station.

Police say the skimming could have been defrauding hundreds of customers at the station in Dartmouth, N.S., over the past two months.

A 23-year-old Montreal man, Mony Michel Nith, has been charged with intercepting computer data, possession of credit card data and trafficking in credit card data.

A 21-year-old woman is scheduled to appear in court next month to face charges of possessing instruments of credit card forgery and a small amount of drugs.

Plainclothes detectives went to the gas station Friday and saw a suspect copying the information the magnetic strips on debit cards.

It's believed the suspect used an electronic card reader hidden behind the counter to double-swipe customer cards during transactions.

The detectives received a tip from a gas station employee.

Police say they believe at least six customers had cards skimmed on Friday, but hundreds of customers could be affected.

''This is just the beginning of the investigation,'' says Halifax Regional Police Const. Mark Hobeck.

''They're going to have to go back and look at the transactions over the last two months to see how far back this is going to go.''

Police aren't yet sure how much money is involved.

Hobeck says it's too early to tell whether there are connections to other similar scams in the region.

A bank-card skimming scheme at a Halifax gas station last year affected about 600 people.

Earlier this year, two men from Montreal were charged with using card readers planted on automated ticket machines at a Halifax movie theatre.

(c) 2005 Associated Press