AUSTIN – In its first year, the Texas Financial Crimes Intelligence Center (FCIC) prevented $48,493,324 in monetary losses due to fraud in Texas and recovered 396 credit card skimmers.
The FCIC, which coordinates law enforcement investigations into organized financial fraud, officially opened in Tyler in January 2022. The center – the first of its kind in the United States – was created by House Bill 2106 in the 87th Texas Legislature and operates as a partnership between the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) and the Smith County District Attorney’s Office. The center’s total two-year budget is $2,650,000.
“The FCIC’s performance in its first year is remarkable. The staff has shown the importance and value of having an intelligence center that concentrates specifically on financial crimes in Texas. As more law enforcement agencies and financial institutions partner with the FCIC, Texas businesses and residents will be safer,” said TDLR executive director Mike Arismendez Jr.
Beyond gas pump skimming, the FCIC has recorded an astronomical amount of fraud from other types of credit card skimming committed by foreign nationals including ATM and point-of-sale skimming that specifically targets state benefit cards.
2022 FCIC Operational Results
|Total amount of loss prevented or recovered||$48,493,324|
|Multi-jurisdictional cases coordinated||91|
|Skimmers recovered by TDLR||396|
|Intelligence products distributed to law enforcement||472|
|Intelligence products distributed to private industry||213|
|Credit cards recovered||1,629|
|Skimmers recovered with information provided by financial institutions||79|
“The FCIC has put Texas at the forefront of financial crime investigation in the nation. It is the first of its kind and has already proven to be successful for law enforcement and all Texans. Their continued work will prevent millions of dollars in fraud, promote a safe environment for Texas banks and businesses, and deter those who would exploit others from coming to Texas,” said Smith County Criminal District Attorney Jacob Putman.
In 2022, FCIC investigators saw several significant changes in the ways that criminals approached gas pump card skimming.
- Several Texas-based criminal organizations have moved their skimming activities out of state so they could avoid Texas-specific laws related to skimmer devices as well as our coordinated law enforcement efforts.
- Some of the Texas-based criminal organizations began moving their operations to less-populated parts of the state to find pumps that might be less-protected.
- Many criminal groups now target high-flow diesel pumps to obtain fleet card numbers, which are preferred because they are typically less secure (no EMV chip), have significantly higher credit limits and don’t attract early attention when large amounts of fuel are purchased.
TDLR regulates motor fuel metering and quality and collects consumer complaints and merchant reports related to credit card skimmers. The Smith County DA has aggressively investigated and prosecuted criminals engaging in credit card fraud related to skimmers placed on gasoline pumps.