Reports of debit or credit card fraud rampant recently in Abilene, Big Country
If you've had strange activity on your debit or credit card lately, you're not alone.
Paula Goolsby, an Abilene resident, had six charges on her debit card, all the way from Miami.
Her bank, Prosperity Bank, offered this explanation to her:
"Whoever the manufacturing company is of the debt card itself put the numbers on there and they send it out to each bank and then the bank puts the people's names on there," Goolsby said. "Somebody in that business was duplicating cards and selling them to their friends so they had access to our accounts."
A representative from the Abilene Teacher's Federal Credit Union said crooks, unfortunately, are getting smarter.
"It sounds like someone harvested numbers and they're counterfeiting cards," said card processing supervisor Robin Meador. "They sell the numbers and once they sell the numbers out, cards are made.”
Tackling this kind of fraud is an uphill battle.
"Right now, we're at the back and we're always trying to be catching up," Meador said. "They [criminals] are always finding new ways."
Victims are left scrambling to find new ways to protect themselves.
"We've thought about just leaving enough money in there to cover household bills and putting our cash in a cash box or in a savings account where there's no debit card link to it," Goolsby said.
Bank representatives said most fraudulent activity occurs on the weekends and holidays, when criminals know the banks are closed.
Here are some tips on how to make sure this type of fraud doesn't happen to you:
1. Know that debit cards are the most popular method of payment, which is why they are being targeted. If possible, use cash.
2. Be aware of your surroundings. If you hand your card to someone (particularly at a restaurant) and they walk away with it, know that your information could be compromised.
3. Make sure to keep your contact information with your bank current. In the event of fraud, the bank will contact the card holder. If your information is not current, the more complications you'll run into.
4. Never give out your credit card or debit card information over the phone.
5. Monitor your accounts often. Review information to ensure there is no strange activity on your account. If you do find fraudulent activity, call your banking institution immediately.
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