MADERA COUNTY – Credit card skimmers strike Madera County again. For the second time in four months, victims are calling the Sheriff’s Office after discovering unauthorized charges.
At least 15 card holders report their cards were compromised after pumping gas at the 22-Mile House on Highway 41.Sheriff John Anderson says based on the information detectives have gathered, it appears the skimming operation occurred near the latter part of November or early December.
So far detectives have opened nine separate cases. One case alone identifies six victims. “Since December, those behind the theft have racked up thousands in charges and withdrawals,” says the Madera County Sheriff’s Office.
Skimmers were able to copy credit and debit card information off the cards’ magnetic strip, copy that information onto another card, and use that new card to make unauthorized purchases and withdrawals.
So far the Sheriff’s Office has traced charges to Las Vegas and Southern California.
Sheriff Anderson says there could be more victims. Highway 41 is well-traveled by both local commuters and tourists.
In some cases, victims themselves caught the unauthorized charges when reviewing their statements. In other cases, victims found out their cards had been compromised after they tried to make a purchase but were denied. In those cases, they were advised that their card had been shut down due to what appeared to be suspicious activity.
Sheriff Anderson urges consumers to keep receipts of every credit and /or debit card transaction, and review their monthly credit card and bank statements carefully.
If you spot an unauthorized charge on your monthly statement, call your credit card company or banking institution immediately.
To report a theft in Madera County, call the Sheriff’s Office at 559-675-7770.