2 May 2012

Suspected card skimmers part of global operation

10:35 am on 2 May 2012

Immigration New Zealand says two suspected card skimmers stopped at New Zealand's border are part of a sophisticated operation.

Two East European men who arrived in Auckland on a flight from Guangzhou in China on 20 April were stopped by customs and immigration officials, alerted by Immigration New Zealand profiling experts.

Immigration New Zealand border operations manager Karen Urwin told Morning Report that officials became suspicious of the two men because of the bizarre travel route they had taken to get to New Zealand.

Ms Urwin says they also could not answer basic questions about what they were planning to do in New Zealand.

"Anybody who's spending about three thousand dollars and travelling all that way - you'd have some idea about what you were going to do when you got here."

Customs officers found electronic skimming equipment when they searched the luggage of the men, a Bulgarian and a Romanian.

Ms Urwin says card skimmers have been attempting to get into Australia, the United States and Europe for some time, and it was only a matter of time before they made their way to New Zealand.

She said skimming gangs are operating out of Romania in particular.

Last month Immigration New Zealand stopped nine suspected Bulgarian card skimmers from entering the country.