New Identity Theft Hitting Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/14/04

New Identity Theft Hitting Lubbock

A new form of identity theft has hit Lubbock. Thieves have been caught on tape making purchases with copied information from credit cards that were handed to them. So how does it work?

It's really pretty simple. The most common way it's happening is when you hand your credit card over to your waiter or waitress at dinner, they walk away, reach down into their apron and run your card through a Skimmer. These Skimmer's aren't illegal and they aren't hard to find, but according to the Secret Service most of what they are being used for is.

Identity Theft Protection
U.S. Government's central website for information about identity theft.

"It is a form of identity theft and identity theft is becoming a problem in the Lubbock area. We cover 73 counties here out of Lubbock, and our identity theft crime has really increased in the last few years," said Secret Service Agent Cloey Chancy.

Last month these likely suspects, the first seen wearing an orange shirt and black pants. And the second suspect wearing a long sleeve shirt with a horizontal stripe. Used a fake card a two different 7-11's. Then a third attempt at using a fake card happened at Ski Lubbock Sports, but that time the card was denied.

"It's very common in the larger cities, this is the first time we've known of it happening in Lubbock. This case is actually possibly tied to a case in Dallas", Agent Chancy said.

Secret Service Agent Cloey Chancy says the most common place for this type of theft to happen is in a restaurant, because patrons gives their cards away and the waiter or waitress can scan it then give it back.

"As they walk away they may slide your card, then go complete your transaction and bring you back the credit card receipt to sign. What they do with the skimmer is take it and connect it to a computer then download all of the information. Once they've scanned your card they have all of the numbers on the card as well as your name," described Chancy.

Agent Chancy says the skimmer can be used on any card with a magnetic stripe, from a drivers license to a rapid rewards card. "There's really not a lot of reason to own a skimmer. They aren't illegal, but most people that have them what they are doing with them is illegal," Chancy said.

The main problem is that this type of theft is hard to monitor and these skimmers are easy to find. They cost less than $50 and can be purchased on the internet.

So consider yourself warned, and according to the Secret Service the best advice they can give is to be careful and if you hand your card away keep your eyes on where it goes.

Police believe the two suspects could be the same person because they have similar descriptions. Both are in their early 20's, clean shaven and have short dark hair.

If you have any information you are urged to call Crime Line at (806) 741-1000.

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