September 19, 2014

Medina
Mostly sunny
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More reports coming in over identity theft spree in Wadsworth

WADSWORTH — Police are investigating reports from at least 24 people who said their credit and debit cards were used for fraudulent purchases in March.
Ten of the people have made reports since March 23.

“We’ve contacted some of the financial institutions to try to find a common point of sales,” Wadsworth Lt. Rob Wyrick said. “But we haven’t had any real breaks yet.”

Many of the charges are coming from the United Kingdom and France, but some have come from the Internet, Arizona and Costa Rica.

Sgt. James Wilcox said many of the reports came in because GenFed Federal Credit Union had a policy that required people who thought their accounts were compromised to make a police report.

Police are urging other residents, too, to report any unauthorized charges on their cards and to be on the lookout for the unusual.

“The more people who report it, the greater chance we have to see what these people have in common,” Wilcox said in March.

He said that until police know who’s behind the thefts and how they’re doing it, residents should only use gas pumps and ATM of which they’re accustomed.
If residents see something unusual, he said they should let business owners and police know.

Wilcox said the thieves could be using a device to save credit card numbers when consumers slide them to pay or could be hacking into computerized banking systems of financial institutions.

Police said residents can keep their accounts safe by following suggestions given by the Federal Trade Commission.

According to its website, the commission recommends keeping a record in a safe place of account numbers, expiration dates and phone numbers to report fraud.

During a transaction, the commission advises not to let the card leave your sight.

Finally, cardholders should check their statements regularly to look for any purchases they didn’t make, the commission said.

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