Victim of debit card fraud warns others - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Victim of debit card fraud warns others

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October 3, 2007

Albany--  We've got a warning for you that you might want to think about the next time you use your debit card. An Albany man was shocked to discover that unauthorized money was ripped off from his bank account after a small purchase at a home improvement store. He was even more shocked to discover who may have taken it.

It all started with a quick afternoon trip to the local Home Depot. "I just needed some home supplies," said Gordon Clark, Jr.

Clark planned on spending about $40 with his debit card. "I swiped my debit card and put in my pin and she said that it didn't count. It didn't go through," said Clark. So one swipe turned into two. But it wasn't until two days later that Clark realized that his $40 purchase was multiplied by six.

"My wife checked the balance of our account and she saw that there was $200 debit from Home Depot along with a $37 debit which was my purchase," said Clark. His bank papers show it all, one charge of 200 bucks followed by his real purchase of $37.81.

"I thought it was a mistake at first," said Clark. But apparently it was intentional and it cost a Home Depot employee her job. According to police reports, she was fired on Monday after fraudulently using the cards of shoppers to obtain goods for herself. That's the same day that Clark called for answers.

"Home Depot said that they had actually filed charges against the lady. They had suspected her of stealing for quite some time," said Clark. The police report also states that store loss prevention officers have the employee on video making those fraudulent purchases. Clark worries about how long the employee was stealing from customers and just how many other victims may be out there.

"How many people pull out there statements and go through each transaction. You know I would have never known if it weren't for my wife," said Clark. Clark says from now on he's only using credit and his consumer confidence is something that can never be rebuilt.

"All this time I never had that feeling before that the person behind the counter could actually be ripping me off. But it happened to me," said Clark. He only hopes other consumers never have the same quick, expensive trip to a store. It cost him three things.

"Money and aggravation and confidence," said Clark.

Clark says the store told him his $200 could not be returned until after the case goes to court. He had to fill out a fraudulent transaction form with his bank in hopes of getting that money back. The Albany Home Depot had no comment today and the corporate headquarters did not return our phone calls.

The employee may also be charged with theft by computer. The case was turned over to Albany Police's financial fraud investigative division.

Here are some tips that could keep you from becoming a victim of credit or debit card fraud.

Keep an eye on your card during any transaction and get it back as quickly as possible.

Void any incorrect receipts.

Save receipts to compare them with your billing statements when they arrive in the mail or even check your purchases online regularly.

If you do notice any discrepancies report them immediately.

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