Officials probe suspicious credit card activities

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 16, 2007

Law enforcement and bank authorities are trying to find out howdebit and credit card numbers are being used as far away as Floridaand Las Vegas when the card is still in the possession of its ownerin Brookhaven.

Landbank South Senior Vice President Gary Blair said he has fourcredit card numbers that have been used out of state.

“I had four different credit cards that were used, and three of thefour – whoever got the numbers -were using them in the Hollywoodand Miami, Fla., area,” he said.

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The fourth one, an American Express, was being used in LasVegas.

Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson said what makes the crimehard to track is that the credit cards actually are not beingphysically stolen.

“What we’re running across is debit or credit cards not beingstolen, but for some reason the numbers are being used in Florida,”he said. “And meanwhile the card owner is telling us, ‘I’ve got thecard right here.'”

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department officials also confirmed theyhave had at least two or three similar complaints.

Blair said he had looked at his statements and has a good idea ofwhere the breach in security might happened.

“I’ve got an idea. I have this one card I don’t use in very manyplaces,” he said. “I have pinpointed where all four cards wereused, and there was only one location where they all four wereused.”

And he’s not the only one who has experienced the problem of acredit card security breach, Blair said.

“When we had the first two happen, suddenly we’re talking tofriends and it seemed like everyone we talked to knew someone orpersonally had credit cards that someone had used,” he said.

While Blair said he hasn’t permanently lost any money on the scam,he said he is still nervous at the idea that someone can so easilyaccess all his personal information.

“It’s just a concern that someone is getting my credit card numbersand possibly selling them to people who are trying to steal moneyfrom me, or anybody else out there,” he said. “It’s kind of likeanything else: any time someone tries to take anything from you,it’s like you’re violated.”

Henderson said local authorities are working in tandem withofficials in Florida to try to figure out how exactly the crime isbeing committed.

“We’re trying make contact with them to see if they can enlightenus. We’d like to track down how they’re using the card, trying toget a connection,” he said. “We’re also working with the attorneygeneral’s office because they have the resources.”

Blair said the inconvenience of the scam is what frustrates him themost.

“Usually the credit card (companies) catch it. They ask if you’retrying to use the card wherever it showed up, and they immediatelycancel the cards,” he said. “Really, it’s a hassle more thananything.”