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Debit Card Skimmers

Law enforcement officials in Buncombe and Henderson counties are warning credit and debit card users to be on the lookout. 

Someone is stealing their card numbers and personal pin and wiping out their bank accounts. The number of cases is on the rise and investigators say use your cards with caution.  Atm's, gas pumps, anywhere you use a credit or debit card, could be a potential trap. 

"They went to a publix, a couple convenience stores.." Someone got Stephanie Lopez's debit card information and cleared out her account.  She says, "it was all odd amounts and so every penny was taken from my bank, basically."

   She and the dozens of others who've filed police reports have no idea how their personal banking information was stolen.  Police think thieves are stealing people's debit card information by using skimmers attached to debit card reading devices. Skimmers are sold on line, devices that can swipe your information in seconds and be sold to thieves who produce a card with your information to make transactions anywhere in the world.

   Bobby Willis has heard the stories.  "That's one thing I try to keep an eye on is my balance.  If I notice something wrong, I always call the bank." Investigators are warning people to be extra cautious.  Don't use a card that ties directly to your bank account, choose credit instead of debit to protect your personal pin and get a card with a 500 dollar limit or less and use it for small incidental purchases at gas stations, convenience stores and fast food restaurants.

   "It doesn't surprise me.  I know criminals are very smart."  Brian Newsom has never had his card stolen. But he's not taking any chances, using a separate account for expenses.  "We put x amount of dollars into for our monthly expenses so if someone were to get my information all they would have access to is gas money, grocery money, uhm, it would hurt but it wouldn't wipe us out completely."

   Another piece of adive: don't just report the theft to the bank.. call your local law enforcement agency as well.
    Investigators believe there are far more cases out there in our community they don't know about because people are only reporting it to their banks.

By Frank Fraboni


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