Debit card number thefts spike in DeSoto County - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ben Watson

Debit card number thefts spike in DeSoto County

The growing holiday buzz among shoppers and store employees in Hernando, Mississippi has nothing to do with great prices.  Instead, citizens are dealing with a dramatic rise in the thefts of debit card numbers.

Officials say over 90 numbers, mostly belonging to residents of Hernando, have been stolen since September.
 
Misty Wright works at a beauty shop in Hernando. On the same day she was shopping in Kenosha, Wisconsin last month, a thief was using her debit card number in Austin, Texas.
 
"It was different hits of different amounts, like 75 dollars and above," she said.

Wright's debit card was charged 21 times in two days by an unknown thief.

Deputies at the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department said on Thursday alone, 18 people in the Hernando area reported their debit card numbers had been stolen.

"One lady came in the other day and said that her son had twice now," Hernando store clerk Tonya Pennington said.

Investigators admit the thefts are baffling, and believe the thieves may be stealing debit card numbers by hacking into retail store databases.  Until they can learn more, investigators said, shoppers should write checks or pay with cash, and avoid using their debit cards.

Meanwhile, victims a dealing with the frustrations of getting ripped off.

"It caused a strain on me trying to re-arrange everything, and having to open another account and deal with the overdraft fees," Wright said. "I mean, if you can't work for it, don't spend it."

Sheriff's Deputies in the Hernando said they were aggressively investigating the debit card thefts, and encouraged victims or people with knowledge about the crime to call them at 662-429-1470.


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