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Police call debit card fraud report an isolated incident

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 | 5:55 p.m. CST; updated 6:19 p.m. CST, Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Police are asking for public help in identifying this man, who is a suspect in a possible case of debit card fraud.
Police said the debit card numbers were somehow obtained by the suspects, who then imprinted them onto another card or cards.

COLUMBIA — Police are looking for two suspects involved in a reported debit card fraud case.

On Nov. 16, a couple reported unauthorized transactions to their bank accounts. Columbia Police Department Public Information Officer Jessie Haden said it was a unique case, and police believe it to be an isolated incident.

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"What is weird is the credit card was never out of their possession," Haden said.

In the case, the numbers were somehow obtained by the suspects, who then imprinted them onto another card or cards. Haden said most fraud attempts are "low-tech" and not complicated.

On Nov. 15, the suspects made purchases at the Hy-Vee on Grindstone Parkway, Sally's Beauty Supply on West Worley Street and the Blockbuster on Clark Lane, Haden said. On Nov. 16, purchases were made at the Dairy Queen on Forum Boulevard, Journeys in the Columbia Mall and Sunglass Hut in Columbia Mall.

The high-quality surveillance images provided by police showed a clear view of the suspects. One was described as a white male in his early 20s.

Haden said the act could have ties to an "unscrupulous employee" saying that "once you write a check and give it to a cashier, that person has all your bank account information."

There did not seem to be any connection to online banking in this case, Haden said, because those systems are "so secure."

There are some ways to reduce the risks of fraudulent charges to a bank account. Haden advised residents to do the following, especially in the holiday season:

  • Do not leave a card on the counter after making purchases at a store.
  • Do not give out or let anyone borrow credit cards for any reason. 
  • Update computer firewall and spyware settings.
  • Check your bank account from a secure computer at home weekly. Report any discrepancies to the police. It sooner you catch fraudulent charges, the faster you can flag your account.

Haden encouraged anyone with information about the crimes to contact CrimeStoppers at 875-tips or at 875tips.com.


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