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Police Investigating Skimming in Benton County

By Meghan Pinkley
By mpinkley@wbbjtv.com

Debit card users pay attention. Your money could be in someone else's hands, especially if you have shopped in Camden.

Authorities say more than $12,000 has been swiped from 30 victims in Benton County. Camden police said people everywhere need to be aware of the possibility that when you swipe your card, someone out there may be getting your numbers.

Victims who had been targeted said they were terrified that a stranger can so easily steal their money right from their bank account. Some said will all the fraud you hear now, they are getting rid of their money cards all together.

Jane Hollingsworth was not happy to admit that she has a good friend who lost $800 on the debit card scam. "Somebody got her information off her card and she got a notice that said her bank account was overdrawn," she said.

Investigator Alex Latimer said they have had about 20 fraud complaints from local banks in which debit accounts have been compromised.

But the Camden Police Department isn't the only agency who has heard about the problem, the Benton County Sheriff's Department has also had six cases. Together, more than $12,000 has been embezzled from local bank accounts. "Sort of scared to use your card you know. Don't know where to do. I though that information was supposed to be private," said Hollingsworth.

"It really scares me because I use my debit card all the time, everywhere, every day," said Lindsay Schneider. Investigators believe a computer savvy thief has hacked into certain machines that accept debit cards. "We are not sure if it was a debit machine like a card swiper in a retail store or an ATM type machine that would be more commonly seen in a bank," said Investigator Latimer.

Security measure have been put into place at nearby banks. They are red flagging any suspicious activity, and immediately contacting the card holder.

Police said they do not want people to stop using their debit cards and start carrying around large amounts of cash, but they do want people to know it can happen to anyone and there are precautions you can take. "People need to be extra vigilant. Checking their bank record, checking account record, saving records. Anything to do with their banking record, check on a regular basis," advised Inv. Latimer.

Due to the investigation, officers are not releasing the location of the machines that were hacked, but said the problem is being taken care of. Officers said all the banks have reimbursed their customers who were affected. Contact your bank if you feel you are a victim.
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