Identity Theft and Stolen Credit Cards: It Happens in Southern Utah

skimming scams
Photo Courtesy of TN Channel 2 News

ST. GEORGE – A St. George man recently received a phone call from his credit union asking him about the computer he bought and was shipping to Montana.

“They must of have known something was wrong when they saw a computer,” he joked. “I’ve never owned a computer. I wanted to know the address it was being shipped to, but they wouldn’t give it to me.”

Fortunately, his credit union was able to alert the company before it shipped and credited the man for the charge, close to $600.

St. George police are cracking down on identity theft and stolen cards. However most of the stolen credit cards in St. George are from people having their homes or cars broken into. The credit card victim says he never had his card stolen, it was still in his possession, and he doesn’t know how they got his card number.

Skimming

“While instances of ATM or Fuel Pump Skimming are extremely rare in our area, it is crucial for the community to be aware of the scam in order to safeguard ourselves by understanding the fraud and being vigilantly on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary,” said Detective Johnny Heppler. “Additionally, it is essential for citizens to report suspicious circumstances and/or equipment to the bank, at least, but reporting it to the police as well would be encouraged and appreciated.”

Skimming occurs when someone places an electronic device on the machine that copies information from your debit or credit card to withdraw the funds directly from your account. The device may be hard to see, but usually sticks out from the machine slightly.

Phishing Scams

With the 222 deployed, don’t be surprised if scammers start making phone calls. The scam can come by phone or email and is someone who pretends to be a family member or friend. The caller will say they are in dire trouble and needs you to wire money right away.

Another popular scam is when a person calls and says they are from your bank or credit card company. They may say your account has been hacked and you need to give them your personal information to verify your security. They may even tell you that you owe them money and will threaten to foreclose on your home.

Never give out information over the phone. If you think you do owe the money, you can always call your creditor back to verify you are speaking with the right company.

Data Hackers

Never store your credit information online or on your gaming console. The recent hack on Sony left many vulnerable to identity theft.

Crime – It Happens Here

And as a rule of thumb, never assume that crime doesn’t happen in Southern Utah. Keep your homes and cars locked and never leave your wallet or purse in your vehicle.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2011, all rights reserved.

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