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Debit, credit card fraud sweeping the Tri-Cities; hundreds impacted

By Meredith Machen, mmachen@wcyb.com
Published On: Oct 10 2012 05:06:56 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 10 2012 04:07:34 PM CDT

If you use a credit or debit card, you might want to check your statement. We've learned hundreds of people in the Tri-Cities are victims in a recent rash of fraud.

If you use a credit or debit card, you might want to check your statement. We've learned hundreds of people in the Tri-Cities are victims in a recent rash of fraud.

A routine swipe of a credit card is throwing up some red flags in the Tri-Cities.

Several local residents told us their cards were declined when they tried to make purchases, and they later learned their cards were cancelled to stop fraud that's being noticed by hundreds of Tri-Cities residents.

"I checked my account to keep track of it or whatever and noticed there was a $70 charge in New York City at an Exxon," said Wendy Harlow, a local resident who noticed her card was targeted.

News 5 sat down with representatives from five local banks. They all told us they are all being flooded with credit and debit fraud victims since the middle of last week.

These bank representatives gave News 5 these facts:

Their banks have been notified that hundreds of customers in our region are the targets of fraud.

They were notified by card carriers that many of their customers’ accounts could be compromised about the middle of last week. Since then, letters and phone calls have gone out warning people the charges on their card may not be their own.

Bankers told us they believe a local merchant's card system was hacked, though they don't know whose, and many of their customers are finding charges from other states across the country.

"The bank called me and said that someone had tried to use my card in Washington state for a lodge for $920," said Jordan King, who had to deal with fraud on his card.

We found out these hackers will typically start by charging you card with 50 cents or $1. Once they see that works, they'll then start charging much more.

That's why all card users are encouraged to keep a sharp eye on their transactions, right now and always.

However, some victims are now choosing to play it safe. "I think I'm going to try maybe to go to like pre-pay cards or something like that where I’m not actually putting my personal information out there," said Harlow.

"Since then I've been using cash," King said.