N4T Investigators: Her debit card was cloned

CHECKING ACCOUNT CLEANED OUT LAST WEEK BY UNIDENTIFIED CROOKS THEY OBTAINED HER DEBIT CARD NUMBERS AND WENT ON A SHOPPING SPREE

NEWS 4 TUCSON INVESTIGATOR MATTHEW SCHWARTZ REPORTS IT WAS VERY DISTURBING FOR ME IT REALLY WAS IT WAS SCARY THIEVES SOMEHOW GOT A HOLD OF DENISE OMDAHL'S DEBIT CARD NUMBERS LAST WEEK AND WENT ON A SPENDING SPREE THAT EMPTIED HER CHECKING ACCOUNT

HER STATEMENT FROM HUGHES FEDERAL CREDIT UNION SHOWS FOURTEEN FRAUDULENT TRANSACTIONS MADE OVER THREE DAYS, TOTALING 1━ HUNDRED DOLLARS FOUR PURCHASES OF MORE THAN 200 DOLLARS EACH WERE MADE AT FRY'S STORES IN PHOENIX AND GLENDALE SEVENT━FIVE DOLLARS AT A ROSS STORE, 56 DOLLARS AT APPLEBEES, BOTH IN TEMPE ALL THE CHARGES WERE MADE IN AND AROUND PHOENIX WHILE DENISE WAS IN TUCSON

THIS IS BIG, FOR ME IT'S BIG I DON'T MAKE A LOT OF MONEY BUT FOR ME THIS IS BIG BECAUSE THERE WERE A LOT OF BIG CHARGES ON THERE DENISE SAYS SHE RECEIVED AN AUTOMATED CALL FROM HUGHES FEDERAL ON OCTOBER 10TH, THE DAY AFTER THE FOUR 200 DOLLA━ PLUS CHARGES AT FRY'S SHE CLAIMS A FRAUD INVESTIGATOR TOLD HER, QUOTE, "THIS HAS HAPPENED TO A GROUP OF PEOPLE" SHE ALSO SAYS A TELLER TOLD HER IT COULD TAKE UP TO TEN DAYS FOR THE MONEY TO BE RETURNED TO HER ACCOUNT

HOWEVER, HOURS AFTER WE CONTACTED HUGHES, THE CHARGES WERE DROPPED A SPOKESPERSON DECLINED COMMENT, CITING MEMBER CONFIDENTIALITY DENISE HAS NO IDEA HOW HER DEBIT CARD NUMBERS WERE USEDSHE RECENTLY WAS MAILED A NEW CARD, WITH THE SAME NUMBERS AS HER OLD ONE BUT AS WE'VE REPORTED, THIEVES "CLONE" DEBIT AND CREDIT CARDS BY USING ILLEGAL DEVICES CALLED "SKIMMERS" THAT THEY ATTACH TO PAYMENT TERMINALS THEY THEN USE MACHINES TO COPY THE CARD NUMBERS ONTO A REALISTIC LOOKING CARD WE HAVE GROUPS THAT CAN COME IN FROM OUT OF STATE, COME IN, PUT A SKIMMER ON AND THEN LEAVE AS WE REPORTED LAST MONTH, NEARLY A DOZEN MEMBERS OF PYRAMID FEDERAL CREDIT UNION HAD THEIR DEBIT CARDS CLONED

THIEVES WENT TO TWO HOME DEPOT STORES IN TUCSON AND BOUGHT 3━ HUNDRED DOLLARS WORTH OF VISA GIFT CARDS THE LIMITS THAT WE'RE ALLOWING JUST CONTINUES TO GO LOWER OVER TIME AND SO THEY, IT USED TO BE THEY COULD GET A LOT MORE BEFORE WE'D CATCH IT NOW WE'RE A LOT MORE CAUTIOUS ABOUT WATCHING FOR THAT TYPE OF THING CREDIT CARDS ARE SAFER TO USE THAN DEBIT CARDS BECAUSE UNDER THE FAIR BILLING CREDIT ACT, YOUR LIABILITY FOR FRAUDULENT CHARGES ON A CREDIT CARD TOPS OUT AT 50 DOLLARS BUT IF SOMEONE USES YOUR DEBIT CARD, YOU COULD BE LIABLE FOR 500 DOLLARS OR MORE, DEPENDING ON HOW QUICKLY YOU REPORT IT

TO AVOID SKIMMERS AT GAS STATIONS, WHERE THEY'RE MOST COMMONLY USED, THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION SAYS:━MAKE SURE THE GAS PUMP PANEL IS CLOSED AND DOESN'T SHOW SIGNS OF TAMPERING━TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT THE CARD READER ITSELF TO SEE IF IT LOOKS DIFFERENT THAN OTHER READERS AT THE STATION AND,━IF YOU USE A DEBIT CARD AT THE PUMP, RUN IT AS A CREDIT CARD INSTEAD OF ENTERING YOUR PIN THAT WAY THE PIN IS SAFE AND THE MONEY ISN'T DEDUCTED IMMEDIATELY FROM YOUR ACCOUN