How Thieves Steal Debit Card Information

By: Brittany Gunter
By: Brittany Gunter

Two people are dealing with a financial headache after thieves were able to steal their debit card information and go on a shopping spree without actually stealing their card. Channel 6 talked with police to find out how this is possible.

Cod Hornig and Gary Withrow are victims of Visa debit card fraud. They didn’t have their actual card stolen, but somehow thieves were able to rack up thousands of dollars using their account.

“I didn’t know what to feel because I’ve never had this happen before and I keep all my financial stuff pretty locked up,” said Hornig.

“It was pretty frightening that someone had a duplicate card or was claiming to be me and running around and charging up money,” said Withrow.

While the banks and police try to nail down how that happened, we asked Fran Gallo with Bellevue Police for his thoughts. He’s not investigating these cases, but says it happens more than we think.

“With technology we have these days, it’s amazing what people can do at a computer to get personal information, to get financial information and use that against you,” said Gallo.

He says thieves can get our information by misleading us on the phone, through email, or even steal our mail. They can also sometimes hack into a large company’s database and get information from there.

They can also get our card information from something called skimming. “It’s a little device called a skimmer where all they have to do is run your credit card through it and it copies all the information from your magnetic strip onto the skimmer,” said Gallo.

Police say the best thing to do is to always be cautious with where we use our cards and consistently check our accounts to make sure nothing is out of order.

As for Hornig and Withrow, they are still waiting for their banks to sort this all out.


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