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Enforcers target L.A., Vancouver counterfeit gangs
After battling credit card counterfeiters in the emerging nations of Southeast Asia and on the crime-ridden streets of Los Angeles, Visa International is now focusing on the Bay Area in its global war against a plague that causes worldwide losses of $400 million a year.
The reason for the local push: Visa officials say that San Francisco is becoming a way station between Vancouver, British Columbia, a North American entry point for counterfeiting gangs from Asia, and Los Angeles, the current world capital for fake credit cards.
In the past several months, the San Mateo-based credit card company has:
* Organized a task force of 10 local bankers to help quash counterfeit operations. The task force is only the second of its kind throughout the nation, based on a similar operation inaugurated in Los Angeles last year.
* Helped the San Francisco Police Department and the Secret Service crack a major counterfeiting ring based in San Francisco. "Visa did a helluva job in locating (counterfeit-related) credit card accounts, educating us as to what to look for, giving us equipment to help find …