Debit Card Scam in Wallingford

December 29, 2011

I wanted to bring to your attention a scam in our area. 

Please read the attached story from NBC Connecticut and spread the word to friends and neighbors:

Many people find their bank accounts depleted after the holidays, but nearly 100 people in Wallingford really took a hit after thieves stole their debit card information.

Originally, investigators thought the thefts were from a skimming device scam in which thieves use a card reading mechanism to steal personal information from the magnetic strip. However detectives said the fraud is so widespread they believe a hacker got into a network and grabbed debit card pin numbers and are selling them on the black market.

“I got a call on Monday from the fraud department at Webster bank asking me if I made a $400 purchase from the Walmart in Mississippi.  I said, gee, I don’t think so I’m sitting in my living room in Connecticut,” said Bob Jacobs.

Jacobs and his wife Sue had nearly $700 stolen from their accounts.  They dropped off bank records at the Wallingford Police Department Wednesday and ran into dozens of victims just like them.  Others reported fraudulent purchases in states like Louisiana, Florida, even the country of Malaysia.

Police called it a large scale operation and said nothing of this magnitude has ever happened before in Wallingford. 

The information was stolen in recent months when the victims used their card to make legitimate purchases, but the bogus charges didn’t start popping up until days before Christmas. 

Many of the victims shopped at the West Center Marketplace on South Turnpike Road.  It’s one of the places police are looking into saying it too may be a victim of the scam.

News of the scam has many checking their bank accounts and the victims changing the way they make purchases.

Most of the banks have agreed to reimburse the victims, but some people could be out of the money for another week, police said.

Police are now asking all debit card holders who made purchases in Wallingford since October to check their bank accounts.

Anyone who finds suspicious charges should call Wallingford police at 203-294-2800.