MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - More than a dozen people were arrested in the mid-state in connection to an alleged nationwide network of skimmer fraud.
It was a big-time bust for Middle Tennessee: A cache of high-tech gadgets including a so-called "universal key."
The suspects were many Cuban nationals who use the technology to steal American identities and about $700,000.
"They're well-organized, well-trained and well-traveled," said Murfreesboro fraud detective Tyler Smith who added he believed they were part of a nationwide network.
"It's a large case and a significant arrest able to stop traffic all the way from Miami to Vegas to California and across the nation," said Smith.
Police confiscated the latest in skimmer technology, which seems to upgrade every six months.
"We did not know what this blue cable was," said Smith holding a one piece of evidence.
Turns out, in addition to getting credit card numbers, the cable also steals your pin code. You may wonder how thieves install their technology in, for instance, at gas pumps nationwide.
Police were stunned to recover this.
"This key here is a universal key. It works for 90 percent of the gas stations across America," said Smith.
He then showed just how quickly thieves can then flip a stolen number from a credit card. Within a matter of seconds, it's ready to be used.
It's maddening for victims, but with the arrest of these suspects Smith said police now know more about how they allegedly do business and how to stop them.
The crime ring was busted here in Middle Tennessee, but it's described as being part of a spider web spreading this technology for skimming across the country, and for that reason much of the case will be taken to federal court seeking indictments later this week.
Detectives also monitor a so-called Dark Web site. It's a sight that caters to skimmers selling technology as well as stolen credit card and social security numbers.