Stolen Debit Accounts Lead to Penny Charges on Statements - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/07/07

Stolen Debit Accounts Lead to Penny Charges on Statements

How often do you check your bank statements? If you don't you may want to start, now.

A new wave of credit card fraud has hit the Coastal Empire.

It's called the penny scam.

Thieves have struck again, this time stealing credit and debit card numbers from a Midwest domino game company. If you check your bank statements, you'll see a charge for one penny, some a little higher.

It's all bad news.

"Yeah. I live by my card," Becky Roy told WTOC.

She makes no bones about it.

"Every time I make a purchase, I use my card," Becky said. "I'm not good with cash."

But, Becky is good at checking her bank statements. A few days ago, she noticed a charge on her debit card which was just not right.

"It was for a penny," she said. "I didn't recognize the company and I started investigating."

Becky immediately called her bank. All they could do was take her information and give her contact info for the company in question, a domino game company out of Waco, Texas called Puremco.

Becky says the bank wasn't much help, but the domino company sent her an e-mail telling her they had been victims of fraud. Someone stole 14,000 debit card numbers and wiped out the account information so people could not be contacted.

"I had never heard of them before," Becky said. "The lady from the company told me it was likely I had not dealt with them before. They weren't sure where the account numbers came from."

In Puremco's e-mail, they claim the thieves charged anywhere from a penny to five dollars on stolen accounts.

"They wrote a penny to see if it was a good account number," Becky said.

Federal authorities have been contacted, but Becky is worried her bank isn't taking it seriously.

"The bank took my information and said, more than likely, they would not investigate because it was just a penny," she said. "If 10,000 account numbers are good, and they charge one thousand dollars on each, that's a million dollars. That's big bucks."

Becky has new credit and debit cards on the way. Her old one's are history. However, she is still worried.

"I am not sure cancelling my account numbers will solve the problem. How did they get my number," she said.

An investigation is underway.

If you check your statement and see a charge you are not responsible for, immediately call your bank and credit card company. They will give you information on the company charging you, but as we showed you, it may not be that companies fault.

Like Becky had to do, you will have to cancel your credit or debit card and get a new card issued.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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