SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) –There's widespread debit card fraud in Sylvester, police tell us it affects customers at every bank in town. So far, more than 40 people have contacted police, reporting thousands of dollars missing from their accounts.
Now, investigators are working to find a link between all these unauthorized transactions.
Whether its at the gas station, a store or even a restaurant, in most cases we swipe our debit cards with confidence. Investigators say be careful, because that account information may get into the wrong hands. "All the banks in Sylvester have been hit, customers from each bank," said Investigator Calvin Cleveland.
Investigator Calvin Cleveland is working to find a link between dozens of debit card fraud reports in the city. He says a bank contacted him this week to report a problem. "On the account it showed the card was being used in California, Utah, Florida, South Carolina and of course they were denying any of the charges," said Cleveland.
Cleveland says in some cases, people reported hundreds or even thousands of dollars missing from their accounts. In some cases, accounts were even cleaned out. "What most of the banks are doing are crediting the accounts to the customers, since it is not the customers fault, of course if we do make an arrest restitution will be given to the banks," said Cleveland.
At this point the cards could have been compromised in several situations. "They could be using a skimmer or a reader or they could have hacked into a merchants system and gotten these customers card numbers," said Cleveland.
Otis P. Daniels knows all too well about debit card fraud. His card information was used this summer in Arizona, without his consent. "It used to be you felt more safe using a debit card and now you feel more safe getting cash," he said.
Sylvester PD is now working with the Secret Service and authorities in Mitchell County to crack the case. "I'm making contact with all these merchandisers that are listed on these customer accounts seeing if they have surveillance," said Cleveland.
Investigators say check your bank statement as often as possible, even if you aren't in the Sylvester area for any unauthorized transactions.
If you notice any unauthorized transactions on your statement police say you should contact your bank first.
They can confirm whether it is an error or something else.