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'That was it. I was in and out in 5 minutes.' Woman becomes victim of card skimming device

We've become a society of people who "swipe to pay", and scammers are preying on that!

Posted: Mar 5, 2019 6:57 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - We've become a society of people who "swipe to pay", and scammers are preying on that!

We first told you Monday on News 10 about a series of card skimming cases police are working on in Terre Haute. It's where scammers use devices on point of sale machines to steal your card information.

A card skimmer was found on the point of sale machine inside the Circle K at 3rd and Chestnut streets in Terre Haute.

A THPD Detective told News 10 he believes the skimmer was on the machine from February 11th through the 23rd. He says card information was stolen using the skimmer. Then, fake cards were made using the stolen information. The Detective says the fake cards were used for dozens of transactions in Northern Indiana. Just one bank in Northern Indiana (that has multiple branches,) reported having 80 known fraudulent transactions in Kokomo, 40 in Elwood, 53 in Marion, and 33 Fairmount. THPD says authorities in that area have been working to crack down on parts of this case since December.

News 10 spoke with one shopper of the 3rd Street Circle K. She says she made her purchase more than a week ago and was surprised to find out she'd been scammed.

Deanna Smith explains, "Last night when I saw on the news on the internet, I went and checked my account, and sure enough, $153 was taken.”

For Smith, she says her misfortune all started with a fountain drink.

She explains, "No problem, went in, used my card, got a drink, and that was it. I was in and out in 5 minutes."

But all it took was that one transaction February 20th for Smith to become the victim of a card skimming scam.

Smith says, “I never pay at the pump I always went inside to manually us my card. And now that I've manually used my card and my information is still getting stolen... They're getting more clever!"

Smith says she's angered that someone would do this. She explains, "My husband and I both work hard for our money and for someone to not want to work hard for their money, to take it from others, it upsets me."

Insecurity aside, Smith says the whole ordeal has been an inconvenience.

Smith adds, "They froze my accounts, we froze all my card info, and in 4 to 5 days they should refund my money."

Smith knows she's not the only victim, but she says she's disappointed in her bank.

She says, "They used my card info on something I would never buy. And for me to have to notice that myself, really makes me feel uneasy."

Smith says she's now using more features to secure her bank account and suggests others do the same.

The victim explains, "I have it set up where every time someone, my husband or I, uses our bank account or cards it sends me a notification and I can stop it right then and there if my husband or I didn't do it."

Smith said she would be back to that Circle K again.

Keep in mind, a card skimmer could be on any point of sale machine you use. THPD is urging people to check machines before they use them and if there's any “give” to them or if you see a broken safety seal, report it to a store employee.

THPD says at this point they don't have any specific leads on a suspect in this case. However, officials say they do not suspect store employees had any connection to the crimes. 

If you have any more information on the case, you're asked to contact Detective David Thompson at 812-244-2246.

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