November 25, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
30°F

More than dozen hit in identity theft spree

WADSWORTH — Police are investigating a series of identity thefts, which have cost thousands of dollars for city residents and forced many to cancel their credit and debit cards.

According to police reports, 14 people within three weeks have reported unauthorized use of their cards. Transactions, mostly in the United Kingdom and France, have cost the affected Wadsworth residents between $20 and $2,600.

Lt. Rob Wyrick said police are working to identify those responsible.

“It’s a bit of a caper,” he said.

The biggest influx of reports came Monday and Tuesday, when at least nine people said fraudulent charges were made on their cards.

One woman said her account was used for a $20 McDonald’s charge in France, and someone else said a $975 charge appeared on her card from Puerto Rico.

Police Sgt. James Wilcox said at this point, there are no leads.

“If anyone else has seen something like this happen to their cards, they should let us know,” he said. “The more people who report it, the greater chance we have to see what these people have in common.”

He said a majority, but not all, of the people who reported the thefts are GenFed Federal Credit Union customers.

Wilcox said the culprits could be using any device where people slide their cards to pay, or they could be hacking into banking systems.

Until police identify how it’s happening, he said residents should keep an eye out for anything suspicious where cards are used to pay.

“Definitely only go to an ATM machine or gas station you’re familiar with,” Wilcox said. “If you see something attached to a machine that you don’t recognize, you shouldn’t use it and you should report it.”

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.