Credit card skimming strikes Madera County a second time

Sheriff News for 1/17/13

January 17, 2013 

For the second time in four months, victims of credit card skimming are calling the Madera County Sheriff's Office after discovering unauthorized charges.

At least 15 card holders report their cards were compromised after pumping gas at the 22-Mile House on Highway 41.

Sheriff John Anderson says based on the information detectives have gathered, it appears the skimming operation occurred near the latter part of November or early December.

So far detectives have opened nine separate cases. One case alone identifies six victims.

Since December, those behind the theft have racked up thousands in charges and withdrawals.

Skimmers were able to copy credit and debit card information off the cards' magnetic strip and then copy that information onto another card and use that card to make unauthorized purchases and withdrawals.

So far the sheriff's office has traced charges to Las Vegas and Southern California.

Sheriff Anderson says there could be more victims since Highway 41 is well-travelled by both area commuters and tourists.

In some cases, victims themselves caught the unauthorized charges when reviewing their statements. In other cases, victims found out their cards had been compromised after they tried to make a purchase but were denied. In those cases, they were advised that their card had been shut down due to what appeared to be suspicious activity.

Sheriff Anderson urges consumers to keep receipts of every credit and/or debit card transaction, and to review monthly credit card and bank statements carefully.

If you spot an unauthorized charge on your monthly statement, call your credit card company or banking institution immediately.

To report a theft in Madera County, call the Madera County Sheriff's Office at (559) 675-7770.

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