Tarrant County authorities have disrupted a skimming operation that aims to steal people’s money when they use an ATM.

An investigation by the Financial Crimes Intelligence Center (FCIC) in Tyler has led to the arrest of 37-year-old Mihai Florin Marienscu, 36-year-old Nelu Nae, and 47-year-old Mihai Vlaicu. Each suspect has been charged with the illegal use of electronic communications and organized crime in several states.

“As soon as we learned that these suspects were traveling into Texas, they were here less than a week total before an arrest was made,” explained Jeff Roberts of FCIC, according to NBC 5 DFW.

Skimming is when fraudsters use a card reader device to access debit or credit cards at an ATM machine or card terminal. They can record everything from the card’s PIN to the security code. Such scams are most frequent where cards are used most, including ATMs and gas stations.

“Right now, across the state, we have seen an uptick in skimming activity,” Roberts told NBC 5, noting that the three suspects had placed at least 26 skimming devices across Tarrant and Dallas counties.

Last year saw rising reports of card skimming across the state, as previously reported in The Dallas Express. FCIC reported having prevented or recovered $100 million in losses in Texas since the first fifteen months of its operation. Nationwide, skimming is estimated to cost victims and financial institutions roughly $1 billion annually.

According to data from the city’s crime analytics dashboard, as of June 20, there were 107 cases of ATM or credit card fraud in Dallas reported this year. While this shows a drop of 27.7% compared to the year before, identity theft is actually up by 1.2%, increasing from 169 offenses to 171 year over year.

The Dallas Police Department has been dealing with a significant staffing shortage, with just 3,000 officers fielded despite a City report calling for a force of 4,000. As a result, police response times for lower-priority crimes are well above DPD’s goals.

The department’s resources are also stretched thin by a budget this fiscal year of just $654 million. This is considerably less than the taxpayer money allocated to law enforcement in other high-crime cities, including Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.

With roughly six to seven reports of white-collar crime being reported in Dallas on average each day, this represents a considerable toll on law enforcement resources.

The Dallas Police Department has been struggling with a significant staffing shortage, which has reduced its efficiency in keeping response times down and combating non-violent crime. DPD fields around 3,000 officers, roughly 1,000 short of the 4,000 officers recommended in a City analysis of public safety needs by population size.

Additionally, City leaders have approved a budget of just $654 million for DPD this fiscal year, putting Dallas at the low end of police spending compared to other high-crime municipalities nationwide.